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Should you rehire ‘boomerang’ employees?

Last editedMar 20222 min read

In 2021, many headlines were written regarding the so-called Great Resignation. It wasn’t just hyperbole, either, as the ONS revealed that job-to-job moves in the UK alone totalled just under 1 million between July and September in 2021. One in four UK workers also admitted to planning a job charge last year.

But now that the dust has started to settle, what is the immediate future of employment going to look like? Are former employees going to start looking back at their former jobs through rose-tinted lenses? Could we be about to enter the era of the boomerang employee?

What’s a boomerang employee?

There are several reasons why an employee might want to leave a job and return to it at a later date. There are just as many reasons why a company might want to rehire an individual. And that’s why the boomerang employee has become such a common sight, particularly given the turmoil catalysed by the pandemic.

A boomerang employee is essentially a rehire. They might have left for a new role that didn’t turn out the way they expected. Or they may have left and realised the grass on the other side wasn’t quite as green as they thought. Or they may simply have needed some time away before being ready to return to the fold.

Whatever the case, boomerang employees look set to become a significant trend in recruitment over the next few years as the world starts to recover from Covid. But should businesses rehire boomerang employees or should they let the past remain in the past? And are there any disadvantages of rehiring former employees?

The challenge of rehiring former employees

If people have already left once, it’s more likely they’ll leave again. This is particularly likely if they left due to personal issues. Somebody who was a problematic employee before may have grown and evolved in their time away. But it’s just as likely they might not have. They might also expect a slightly higher salary and title than a brand new hire, given their history at the company.

The advantages of rehiring former employees

Rehiring an old employee can have a number of benefits, especially given the current competitive hiring market.

They know the company

There is always going to be an element of onboarding required with a new employee. A rehire, meanwhile, will already be familiar with the business, its culture and processes.

It’s a different world

Leaving a job was once perceived as a sign of disloyalty, but we live in a very different world now. Many departures are made out of necessity and employees are more likely to leave on good terms today than in years past. They might even have kept in touch over social media and networking platforms such as LinkedIn. This means that bringing them back on board might be as simple as starting an online conversation.

They have evolved

The time they’ve spent away from the company is time they will have spent developing new skills and new ideas. These can be brought back into the company and used to your advantage.

Case by case

All rehires should be judged on a case-by-case basis. It will depend on several factors, including their initial reasons for leaving, their reasons for wishing to return and whether or not the job makes sense for them at this stage for both parties.

The best way to ensure the rehire is a good idea is to ask the right questions and figure out if it’s the best path for you and your old employee. If it is, be sure to welcome them back warmly and make them feel as if they never left. You might be surprised how much you can achieve together.

We can help

If you’re interested in finding out more about the financial implications of rehiring boomerang employees, or any other aspect of your finances, then get in touch with our financial experts at GoCardless. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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