The Case of Boomerang employees

They have previously been part of the company, they quit and now they want to come back – we call them boomerang employees. Should we hire them… again?

Leaving a company to never set foot in it again? Although yesterday’s workers spent their entire career with just one employer, things have changed since then. Not only do we accumulate jobs, but we sometimes reconnect with ex-bosses…

According to a Leger survey conducted in 2016 for the Monster website, 50% of Canadians aged 18 to 34 would be open to returning to a previous employer. This does not seem to be an option however for Canadians aged 55 years and over – seven out of ten say they have never gone back to a job that they left.

A rising phenomenon

According to Brendan Browne, vice president of global talent acquisition at LinkedIn, the phenomenon of boomerang employees is rising. Although the human resources department may previously have had an internal policy prohibiting the rehiring of employees who leave the company – even on good terms – these barriers are finally coming down.

This trend is even more marked for the Millennials.  “[We] have found that they change bosses every two years since they are seeking the job – and the organization – which fits them best,” says Dan Schawbel, founder of

Referring to a study conducted in 2015 by The Workforce Institute and, Dan Schawbel adds that this younger generation is more likely to boomerang because they have experienced other company cultures and realize what they have left behind…

Added value for the company

Hiring a Boomerang employee can have several benefits. This person will already be familiar with the company culture. In addition, these returning employees often arrive with new work experiences, contacts and knowledge.

This is precisely one of the reasons for leaving identified by David Almeda, director of human resources at Kronos, interviewed by the Forbes magazine. Certain boomerang employees see an opportunity to refine their careers elsewhere, leaving the company for 3 to 5 years and then returning to the fold.

But, why do they come back? According to the Leger survey, the main reasons are different for men and women: the former say it’s to have a better salary, while the latter do it rather to have a better work – life balance.

Taking a chance

Even if rehiring a boomerang employee has its benefits, it also has some risks. After all, nothing guarantees that the reinstated person will not want to leave the company yet again in two years. Not to mention that the employee may not have actually changed since his first time in the company. In other words, hiring a boomerang employee is also taking a chance.

That’s why these new former employees must go through the hiring process with no shortcuts, just like every other potential candidate.

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