The dilemma of hiring “boomerang” employees

boomerang employess

In the article below, Sydney Career Coach Tina Monk discusses the pros and cons of employing someone who wants to return to their former jobs due to a range of harsh or unsatisfying realities.

In business, “Goodbyes” aren’t always forever

In the business world, “Goodbyes” aren’t always forever any more. With the extreme pandemic conditions and the overwhelming amount of budding talent in recent times, there is what we might call a ‘tectonic’ shift in the recruitment process. Now, many people are returning to their previous companies due to a handful of harsh or unsatisfying situations.

Although communicating with passive applicants might help find the ideal fit, most of the time, the individual who can bring the greatest value is one who clearly knows the workplace culture and can be resourceful straight away without much onboarding or training. As a result, when filling a vacant position, why not turn to “boomerang” employees to provide expertise where newcomers can’t?

But, as an owner of a business or a recruiter, is it a healthy choice to bring your former employees back? Maybe and not! So, in this article, we will be diving into some of the potential benefits and challenges of hiring “boomerang” employees and analyse what and what not to expect from them.

Understanding “boomerang” employees

Employees who return to the previous company are known as “boomerang” employees. They opted to quit your organisation previously, but now, weeks, months or even years later, they might want to return. Some workers may have departed to pursue an alternative professional path (one which you could not provide at that time). Others just need time off, or to fly around the world, or to spend quality time with loved ones.

Now let us look at some of the benefits and challenges of hiring your ex-employees back into your budding or established business.

The pros of hiring boomerang employees

Is it advantageous for businesses to rehire individuals? Let us find out!

Both the parties know what the other wants!

If you are an owner of a business and an ex-employee wants to come back, not just the employee, but you too know if they are a right cultural fit for your business’s future. And the lesser period that has passed between the individual’s departure and re-joining, the truer your impression of the individual and how they might function in your business will be. This makes recruiting smoother and much less risky, and it may also help you save money on recruiting.

Can benefit employer branding and retention

When a previous employee returns to your firm, they recognise that you accomplished great things as a company. Otherwise, they won’t want to  work with you again. Other employees (specifically those who are new to your company) may see this as a confidence boost. This may help both your company branding and staff retention rates.

Lower and reduced hiring and recruiting expenditures

In many situations, the boomerang staff and the employer will actively maintain contact and/or links through networking. It merely takes a text or email to reconnect when the organisation has a potential opportunity, or the individual is considering returning. This can significantly minimise the costs of talent acquisition and recruitment.

Increased productivity and efficiency

Compared to the newcomers to your business, a boomerang employee can significantly benefit the profit scale and the work efficiency of your firm. Someone who has already worked with you would automatically understand and figure out what needs to be done and perform these tasks rapidly. They may also bring in a new community of customers and provide insights on companies they may have worked for in the gap.

The cons of hiring boomerang employees

Unfortunately, rehiring staff has several drawbacks. Below are the primary reasons why you should not contemplate bringing an employee back to the business.

The ‘reason’ dispute!

Even if the employer and the employee split amicably, there may be some lasting bitterness or unfavourable sentiments on both sides. And it is possible that the initial cause for leaving may re-emerge. You are still unable to provide the specific professional path they desire. You have not modified any of the operations that led to their choice to quit the organisation.

The parties do not remain the same

Employers and workers are both dynamic. The firm will (ideally) have developed in the interim, and processes may have altered. Similarly, the employee may have become more skilled or adjusted to new ways of functioning. Boomerang employees (or rehiring employers) frequently anticipate things to return to normal, but this is not always the case. As a result, expectations may not be realised, or either party may be resistant to change.

Existing employees might have a problem!

Some current employees may have disliked (joining hands with) the departing employee. The boomerang individual gets rehired for a higher position that the existing workers have their sights set on. In many circumstances, the sociocultural context of someone who is both fresh to the team yet has prior experience functioning on that team can cause difficulties.


Difficulties in contract negotiations

They always are high, and boomerang employees are no exception. The most difficult decision is whether to consider the rehire as a fresh employee or not. Might they be granted another probationary period? What about earned vacation periods or other comparable benefits based on years of employment with the firm? Starting new may produce anger among the boomerang individual, indicating that you are set to a horrible start.

Should you really hire a boomerang employee?

Now that we have seen both the benefits and the downsides of boomerang employees, the ball is in your court. The dilemma of hiring boomerang employees doesn’t seem to fade since the cost comes with both positives and negatives. If you consider that a returning employee can benefit your business, then go ahead and hire them. But, considering the downsides, if you think that it is not a good option, then there is always room for fresh budding talents!

Complimentary coaching introduction

Take advantage of our complimentary coaching introduction to determine whether coaching is for you.  We provide coaching advice throughout Australia remotely via Skype and Zoom, over the telephone and in person at Neutral Bay on Sydney’s North Shore.


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Tina Monk, Sydney Career Coach

Sydney career coach and job advisor, Tina Monk’s education and professional development have focused mostly on how to understand people and bring out the best in them. Tina has been coaching for 20 years and continues to develop as a coach. Her approach is said to be caring with a bit of  ‘tough love’ thrown in!  Call or text Tina directly at 0413 000 010.

During these challenging times, we don’t need more fear, we need more hope and support.  If you are afraid of losing your job or have lost it, Tina can help you to future-proof your career or help with your job search.  She can work with you remotely and is offering discounts on her fees during this time.