Importance of Boomerang Recruitment: Why Companies Should Embrace Returning Employees

In the ever-changing talent acquisition landscape, organizations are increasingly understanding the benefits of boomerang recruiting. These “boomerang employees” are individuals who, after departing from a company, later return to work for the same employer. Research by Reveliolabs sheds light on the significance of this phenomenon, highlighting its impact on the evolving dynamics of workforce mobility and organizational culture.

Mirthe Van Brussel on April 04, 2024 Average reading time: 3 min
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Importance of Boomerang Recruitment: Why Companies Should Embrace Returning Employees
Boomerang recruitment is growing

According to Reveliolabs’ findings, the share of boomerang employees has increased by approximately 30% between 2018 and 2023, growing from 2.6% to 3.4%. This upward trajectory is particularly present in industries characterized by high seasonality, such as Accommodation & Food Services and Retail. Of course, you can also see here an effect of COVID-19, where in these sectors people were let go but also came back.

Industries with more short-term or seasonal workers tend to boast higher boomerang rates. Healthcare, despite its lower seasonality, also demonstrates a relatively elevated average boomerang rate.

The green grass syndrome: half of the boomerangs come back in 2 years

Insights from the research indicate that around 50% of boomerang employees make their return within two years of their initial departure, with approximately 80% rejoining within five years. This underscores the significance of the post-employment experience in shaping individuals’ decisions to revisit former employers.

The study also reveals intriguing nuances regarding employee sentiment. Companies with higher boomerang rates tend to garner lower ratings from current employees. Conversely, former employees rate these same companies more favorably. This dichotomy suggests that while satisfied employees are less likely to depart, those who do leave and return may have gained a deeper appreciation for their former employer’s attributes. We call that the green grass syndrome. You expect that the grass is greener with another employer, but it isn’t.

Strategic Benefits of Boomerang Recruitment for Talent Acquisition and Retention

The resurgence of boomerang recruitment underscores its significance as a strategic avenue for talent acquisition and retention. As highlighted in a Totalent article identifying boomerang recruitment as one of the top talent acquisition trends for 2024, many companies are recognizing the value of rehiring former employees. Leveraging the potential of boomerang employees offers several compelling advantages for organizations:

  • Cultural Continuity: Boomerang employees are already familiar with the organizational culture, values, and dynamics. Their reintegration into the workforce streamlines onboarding processes and minimizes the risk of cultural misalignment.
  • Enhanced Engagement: Returning employees often exhibit heightened levels of engagement and commitment. Their decision to rejoin signifies a renewed interest in the company and its mission, fostering a sense of loyalty and dedication.
  • Expanded Talent Pool: Boomerang recruitment broadens the talent pool by attracting individuals with valuable institutional knowledge and prior experience. This not only expands the pool of qualified candidates but also allows for more informed hiring decisions. As highlighted in an HRForecast article, boomerang employees can hit the ground running and make significant contributions from the outset due to their existing understanding of the company’s processes.
  • Cost Efficiency: Rehiring former employees can prove highly cost-effective compared to recruiting and training new staff. Boomerang employees typically require shorter ramp-up periods and entail lower recruitment expenses. Rehiring former employees can be up to 67% less expensive than hiring fresh talent.
  • A Personio article emphasizes the cost-effectiveness of rehiring former employees, noting that boomerangs often require less training and onboarding than new hires.

As organizations navigate the evolving landscape of talent management, the concept of boomerang recruitment emerges as a compelling strategy for sustainable growth and competitive advantage. Reveliolabs’ research underscores the significance of embracing returning employees as valuable assets, highlighting the pivotal role they play in shaping organizational success. By recognizing and harnessing the potential of boomerang recruitment, companies can foster a culture of continuous learning, adaptation, and excellence in pursuing their strategic objectives.



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