Finance News & Insights

Why re-hiring ‘boomerang employees’ is the smart move

Looking to bring new talent to fill an open position? Believe it or not, your company may be better off looking to an ex-employee to fill that open spot.

The reason? It can save big on recruiting costs.

Ira Wolfe, president of leadership-assessment firm Success Performance Solutions, reported that the cost to re-hire an ex-employee, or “boomerang employee,” can be one-third to two-thirds the cost of hiring a new employee.

Plus there’s the savings associated with time spent on orientation. A good boomerang employee already knows and understands the culture, but is ready to bring a fresh perspective and possibly shake things up, if that’s the goal.

In their absence, boomerang employees may have learned new skills, made new contacts, and achieved successes that can only benefit your company now.

Disloyal route?

The immediate reaction to this idea may be cynical — and that’s certainly understandable.

After all, not everyone that leaves your company is automatically a suitable re-hire, as Mike Haberman, co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc., says. You’ll want to avoid old employees that:

  • were fired
  • were incompetent
  • were unproductive, or
  • didn’t get along with management (assuming management wasn’t the problem).

But barring those circumstances, a business looking for efficient workers would be doing a disservice by not looking to old employees. After factoring in savings on costs, an old employee that’s boosted their skills and strategies in another workplace can do wonders. Assuming a boomerang employee is looking for new opportunities and their previous departure was amicable, they may just jump at the chance of coming back to familiar faces and a familiar environment to use their new skills.

How to spot a ‘boomerang employee’

Wolfe suggests looking at these categories of ex-employees:

  • top performers who voluntarily left
  • top performers who held key positions with demonstrated skills and good contacts
  • retirees who may not actually be enjoying retirement
  • top finalists who accepted a different job
  • long-term consultants or contractors, and
  • promising interns who were not brought on full-time.

Another good way to keep track of promising ex-employees is by setting up an alumni group via social media. LinkedIn is a perfect solution for this avenue: You can keep track of their professional developments and stay in contact.

Has your company hired boomerang employees? Or is it something that’s being considered? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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