Never say never.

Don’t burn your bridges.

Part on good terms.

While these sayings are generally useful pieces of advice, they have started to take on a new lease of life with the rise of a recent phenomenum in the employment world – boomerang employees.

Boomerang employees are people who rejoin a company they worked for previously.

Come back – all is forgiven!

In the past, most employers were wary of rehiring, and a lot of them even had a policy in place banning the practice. Whether that was an emotional response based on punishing disloyalty or prompted by a fear of the employee becoming a repeat offender, the reality these days is that HR departments are much more flexible in their approach to boomerang employees.

A study by The Workforce Institute in 2015 [ ] found that over two-thirds of companies are now starting to look favourably on ex-employees wanting to come back into the fold. In addition, over the previous 5 years, 85% of HR professionals had received applications from former employees.

The benefits of boomerang employees

Companies are starting to see the upside of boomerang employees. They need less training; they know the culture; and they have seen what other companies have to offer so their decision to return can be taken as a vote of confidence in your organization. It’s also a bit of a public relations coup which you can leverage in your recruitment process.

So, with that being the reality on the ground these days, what kind of systems should modern employers have in place to spot and hire boomerang employees?

The most obvious first step is to have a filtering system in place. As part of the offboarding process, flag those employees who you would be happy to welcome back. This decision will be mostly informed by three things – the employee’s skills, their alignment with the company’s culture and the reason for their departure.

People leave a job for many reasons and, with the majority of workers changing companies every 3 – 5 years, there is very little stigma attached these days to seeking pastures new after a year or two, especially among millennials.

Positive reasons for leaving a job

Reasons for giving a green light to rehiring could include those who left because of

  • a spouse relocating
  • a break to start a family
  • lack of promotion opportunities at that point in time
  • working abroad

Of course, people and circumstances change so it is also important, however highly you rate somebody as a possible returnee, to take into account what has happened in the interim.

High risk boomerangers might be people who left to start their own company and failed (it’s hard to go from boss to employee) and those who have changed jobs very often in a short space of time (they don’t seem to know what they are looking for).

Let’s not be strangers – keep in touch

As mentioned before, a lot of potential boomerang employees contact their former company of their own accord, but if you want to take a more proactive approach, one of the best ways is to set up an employee alumni association or even Facebook group. That way, you can keep in touch and post any job openings you have on a regular basis.

On a more personal level, when any employee who you’d be happy to see again leaves, make sure they become one of your LinkedIn contacts.

This serves two purposes.

First of all, it looks good that former employees are happy to maintain a relationship with you and, secondly, it gives you a way to contact them directly. Email addresses and phone numbers change, but LinkedIn URLs are too valuable to be disposable.


If you need help setting up a boomerang employee system that includes why not have a chat with a People Place consultant today.

Give us a call on +420 222 512 737 , you can send us an email to . Or alternatively simply follow this link, complete the brief form and leave the rest to us!


This post was written by Tomas Cides Jimenez, Managing Director at People Place.

Tomas joined the Group in 2007 as a Senior Recruitment Consultant and has been successfully working his way up to his current position, becoming responsible for entire business operations within Central Europe and Western Europe. He works closely with managers at all levels in the clients’ portfolio to ensure the business delivery and client satisfaction is always to the highest standards. Connect with Tomas on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.


Media Hub Topics