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Here’s How to Catch Boomerang Employees

You might be more familiar with your next hire than you’d think.

Despite returning to pre-pandemic unemployment and labor force participation rates, companies are still facing obstacles to source the talent they need to serve their customers. Employees left in droves during the Great Resignation, looking for competitive opportunities in the gig economy, increase in salaries, or flexibility that couldn’t be found in their previous roles.

Some folks left their previous jobs because they were high performers, doing all that they could at your company but couldn’t do anything more in the positions they were in. In those instances, you should keep an eye on these people for future opportunities where they might be able to return down the line. 

Earlier this year, when Hireology surveyed over 6,000 job seekers, we asked if they would be interested in returning to a company they previously worked for. Surprisingly, 74% answered that yes, they would consider returning — which makes your former employees a viable candidate source to fill your hiring needs.

Read on to learn more about what a boomerang employee is and what you can do to catch them.

What is a boomerang employee?

A boomerang employee is best described as a job seeker who returns to a previous place of employment after leaving. These were high performers at your company who excelled but left because they wanted a new experience that you couldn’t offer them at the time. Since then, perhaps they’ve gained a few years of unique experience making them a good fit now for a different role at your company down the line.  

Why boomerang employees are good 

Hiring these previous employees can be really good for your company for a handful of reasons. You already know that they can perform their job duties well because of their past with your company, so the odds are high that they’ll do well again. Knowing this can shave time off of your hiring and onboarding process in two ways: firstly, they’ve already passed your screening and vetting processes, so they’ll likely pass with flying colors. Secondly, you already have a feel for how they mesh with your company culture and business which is another important deciding factor for a new hire. 

How to catch boomerang employees

Keep the door open as they leave

Sure, an employee might have left because they thought they’d find more success in another position or working some sort of gig — but that doesn’t mean that you should treat them with any less kindness than you would a current employee. You want a farewell to a former employee to end on a high note, or at the very least, a good one.

Keep the door open to those employees that you’d hire again by executing an offboarding process that is as warm and efficient as your onboarding process. Any rash decisions, like immediately dismissing them from their role when you receive notice of their resignation, can come back to haunt you — especially if you’d like to keep them interested in potentially working for you again. 

A simple way to show that you’ve valued their time at your company is by asking for their voice: if they could suggest an improvement at your company for the employees, what would it be? Take careful notes when they answer and make sure that you thank them for their hard work in their role.

Make them think of you

A tried and true tactic of exes and former friends, one of the best ways to make former employees think of your company is by texting them to check in. While you could send an email to achieve the same goal, a text message is read on average 90 seconds after being sent whereas an email takes around 90 minutes. 

To use this method effectively, you need to have a system in place where former employees that you’d like back on your team are entered into a separate, post-employment database. This database should be used to set up and send campaigns checking in on former employees anywhere from six months to a year after they leave your company. 

Examples of messages you could send include:

  • Differences you’ve made in policies or around the office
  • Open roles that are at or above where they were previously
  • Any upcoming programming you have coming up, like mentorship programs or company-wide volunteer opportunities

These types of messages are the same quick “checking in on you” information that can help spark a conversation about returning to your business.

Put culture at the core of your efforts

Creating a great company culture takes more than just being inviting; you ideally want to create an atmosphere that makes people want to come to work with you. Many employees left their previous jobs in the Great Resignation because they thought the grass was greener on the other side with more flexibility and the ability to make more money, but folks have realized that this wasn’t always the reality they experienced.

While incorporating flexibility and making sure your employees are paid adequately for their roles is important to attracting talent — new and previous employees alike — these aren’t the only cultural aspects that you could rework. Other, equally important examples include:

  • Additional PTO days
  • Mental Health Days
  • Volunteer days
  • Educational opportunities and mentorship programs with senior staff
  • Career pathways

This way of capturing boomerang employees has double the payout of the others; if you make the culture better, you’ll end up retaining great employees too instead of trying to catch them on their second pass around. 

Former employees are on the market for new roles — but we all know that we’re more comfortable with something we’re familiar with. Catching these boomerang employees can be made easier with Hireology’s powerful all-in-one platform. To see how our features make candidate communication and employee management easier, pick 10 or 15 minutes to chat with a trained Hireologist.

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