Boomerang employees are workers who decided to leave their employers and take on a new job elsewhere, only to return to their former employer sometime later.

A lot has been written about the great resignation – where one in four UK employees have recently changed job or they are thinking about doing so. 

The great resignation was prompted by a high number of job vacancies, combined with people feeling burnt-out after the various lockdowns, throughout the last 18 months.

Some people will have had more time to think about what they want out of life and they may have used the lockdown as an opportunity to try new things. This drove a lot of people to change jobs.

However, as things begin to return to normal, people are starting to figure out what they want to do post pandemic. Many people will have taken time off and are now ready to re-enter the workforce. Of those who moved jobs, many will discover that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere. A key driver for boomerang employees may also be where their old employer now offers flexible working, following lessons learned during the pandemic.

Employees who leave on good terms and don’t burn bridges are more likely to consider coming back to their old firm in the future.

From an employer’s perspective, boomerang employees can be valuable in that they go to another firm, gain some experience and learn from their culture, processes, ways of doing things and then return with new ideas.

Hiring back your boomerang employees also sends a strong message to your existing employees – it shows that your firm is a good place to work and shows that there isn’t necessarily a better alternative job to be had elsewhere. 

It also shows that your firm must have a good culture – otherwise boomerang employees wouldn’t bother coming back. Of course, the true test will be how long those boomerang employees stay, once they return to their old firm.

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