The Boomerang Effect: How rehiring former employees can give your business a competitive edge

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Attrition is not about numbers; it is about the knowledge drain. It disrupts and dictates the culture of an organization. For example, if a very senior or founding member of the company attrites or some of the good SMEs (Subject matter experts) attrite, it sends a ripple throughout the firm, indicating something is wrong, and employees start to panic. Hence Attrition is much more than just losing an employee or a number game. 

Similarly, when an ex-employee rejoins their former company, it speaks volumes about the organization’s credibility. It has a positive effect on the existing set of employees. Hiring ex-employees is a best practice that more organizations must adopt to not only improve their workforce productivity but also their overall collaboration and engagement. 

Who are Boomerang employees?

A 2022 research from payroll firm UKG found that 43% of people who quit their jobs during the pandemic now admit they were better off in their old job –

Employees resign for a variety of reasons such as seeking better compensation, growth opportunities, a higher position, a better team or organizational culture, and more. 

However, when an employee who had previously left a company returns after spending some time at a new organization, they are known as a boomerang employee. 

Losing top talent to competition, compensation, and other reasons can be a significant setback for any company. That said, some employees may find that their new role does not meet their expectations, and the gap between their expectations and reality widens the longer they work in an uncomfortable environment. 

In such cases, returning to their previous employer, or “comfort zone,” can be an attractive option. The return of these boomerang employees can bring multiple benefits to the organization, such as their familiarity with the company culture, previous experience, and relationships with existing employees.

Benefits of hiring Boomerang employees

Boomerang employees are employees who have returned to the organization after a stint outside the organization. Every firm encourages the strategy of hiring boomerang employees because of its numerous benefits. Let us look at them.

#1 Knowledge drain reversal

When any employee resigns and leaves, he/she takes with him/her all the knowledge that was gained during the course of learning. Hence when the same employee joins back – the knowledge drain is reversed. The organization earns back a trusted employee who is conversant with the system and working of the organization.

#2 No training

When a boomerang employee is hired, the organization gains a trained resource who is already savvy and requires no training to start his/her work as they have already been trained and worked in the firm before. In addition to that, they know people and ways of getting things done around the firm.

#3 Culture match

Being a Boomerang employee is like walking back home. The employee feels at home when they are in a known environment. The comfort translates into a better culture and impacts productivity positively.

#4 No hiring cost and best ROI

Every good resource comes at a cost. Hiring through portals, referrals, advertisements, vendors, etc., incurs costs. But when an ex-employee is hired through the internal database, there is no hiring cost involved. The organization gets the best fit and organization-ready employee at no cost.

#5 Organization branding

Ex-employees wanting to return to the previous organization proves that the organization has done things right and has built a positive culture that helps pull the boomerang employees to them. Attrition is imminent, but boomerang employees wanting to come back does a lot of good to organization branding.

Boomerang hiring Strategies

Boomerang Hiring Strategies are a set of methods used to bring back the ex-employees to the organization. 

Organizations can focus on boomerang hiring by embracing certain policies that will help them concentrate on the best-performing corporate alumni that they have lost. 

#1 Alumni networks

Companies can maintain relationships with former employees by establishing alumni networks, which allow them to stay in touch and keep informed about job openings.

#2 Exit interviews

When employees leave the company, conducting exit interviews can help identify the reasons for their departure and address any issues that may have led to their decision to leave. This can help improve the chances of rehiring them in the future.

#3 Employee referral programs

Employee referral programs can be used to encourage current employees to refer former colleagues who have left the company. This can help identify top talent who may be interested in returning.

Additionally, a special bonus can be announced in the referral policy for those who help hire an ex-employee of the firm. This will encourage the existing employees to reach out to the ex-employees they know and get them hired. 

#4 Social media

Social media can be used to stay in touch with former employees and promote job openings. Companies can also use social media to showcase the achievements of former employees and highlight their successes.

#5 Boomerang hiring policies

Companies can establish boomerang hiring policies that encourage managers to rehire former employees who were top performers and left the company on good terms. This can help ensure that the best talent is retained and that the company continues to thrive.

#6 Targeted recruitment drives 

A recruitment drive can be organized to encourage the participation of ex-employees who are looking for a change in their current role. There are chances that they are already on the lookout for better opportunities and are keen to join the previous employer.

#7 Dedicated boomerang hiring team 

A dedicated team can work on the internal database and reach out to the high-performing ex-employees to connect and understand their aspirations to convert them into potential re-hire.

#8 Backfill with temporary workers 

Similarly, while the boomerang hiring is on, the existing open positions can be filled with interns or contractors for a limited period. This will ensure that there are vacant positions by the time the desired boomerang employee joins back.

Proactive approaches to lure boomerang employees can ensure better productivity, positive work culture, good ROI, and loyalty.


No company should ideally lose its good employee. But if it does, having him back as a boomerang employee is good for the organization as well as the employee. Boomerang employees prove to be more motivated, loyal, and dedicated as they have been outside and worked in other firms. They have chosen to come back; hence they are dedicated. 

FAQs on Boomerang Employees 

Why is Boomerang recruitment so hot?

Boomerang recruitment is hot due to its benefits. Many companies lost their good employees during the pandemic due to layoffs and resignations. Now when the economy is thriving, they want their employees back. Boomerang employees are no strangers, are trained, have great ROI, are good culture fits, and prove to be loyal employees. 

What is a Boomerang employee?

When an employee who has left the organization due to any reason returns to work for the same organization again, – they are called a Boomerang Employee.

How can you tap into your previous employees?

Two most common methods to tap into the previous employees is through the internal database or ATS database and referring exit interview forms. Exit interview forms will help you understand the reason for an employee’s exit, and that can be addressed while approaching him/her again with an opportunity. 

Why practice the boomerang recruitment method?

Reasons to practice the boomerang recruitment are: bringing back proven talent, better ROI, and loyalty.

What is a good way to get a majority of your top performers back?

Boomerang recruitment can help in achieving this goal of getting top performers back. If they join, it would mean that they have faith in the organization and find it reasonable. They will be loyal to the organization for a long time.

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