Hello Again My Ex, Not a Person but a Company
Hello AgainMy Ex, Not a Person but a Company
We already know the term job-hopping, a trend in recent decades for many employees. They move from one company to another in an average span of 1-3 years, looking for new challenges or benefits that increase their net worth (Sauer, 2022). We also have heard about the great resignation, where many people quit their current job. With the existence of job-hoping and the great resignation, there also popped a question about “Can I go back to my previous company?”. Fortunately, this question has already been solved with the term that is known as boomerang employees.
Boomerang employees are employees who are quitting their jobs and returning to the company they previously worked with (Laker, 2022). 85% of HR professionals reported that they had received job applications from former employees in the past five years, and 40% said they hired almost half of the former employees who applied (Maurer, 2015). According to LinkedIn (Vozza, 2022), boomerang employees compared to all new hires among companies increased from 3.9% in 2019 to 4.5% in 2021.
This increasing number of boomerang employees is also affected by the changing mindset of employees within the company. 75% of HR Professionals and 65% of managers said they are more open to boomerang employees than they used to be (Maurer, 2015). They no longer perceived that once people leave our company, they will leave us for good. Moreover, companies are encouraging them to return by letting them know that they are welcome to back when they resign and check in with their conditions around a month after they leave (Vozza, 2022). This behavior happens because boomerang employees have the advantage over new employees who have not worked there.
Karin Borchert, CEO of Modern Hire, said that the boomerang employees present a potentially untapped pool of talent for hiring managers. The familiarity with the organization’s nuances, understanding of company expectations, awareness of the company culture, and their role demands are proven advantages for boomerang employees. With this sense of familiarity, understanding, and awareness, boomerang employees are able to perform better in roles that demand coordination which makes knowledge of organizational social systems most important and in contexts where resistance to new entrants is likely greatest (Keller et al., 2021).
With those clear advantages over the new hires, boomerang employees tend to perform much faster than new hires who need more time to learn these things (Laker, 2022). In addition, less time to adapt means the onboarding processes will be less expensive and time-consuming.
Not only faster and cheaper onboarding processes, but boomerang employees can also provide new insights on increasing the company’s competitive advantages. With a renewed sense of pride back to the organization, they usually bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and processes beneficial to the company (Maurer, 2015).
Furthermore, returning to a previous company creates opportunities for renegotiated psychological contracts, as the renegotiation phase reinforces reciprocity norms and motivates boomerangs to give more of themselves to the organization (Snyder et al., 2021). Renegotiated psychological contracts of boomerang employees will lead to a higher level of satisfaction and commitment (Laker, 2022). Eventually, satisfied and committed employees are more likely to have organizational citizenship behavior, which enables them to engage in more extra-role behaviors (Nurjanah, Pebianti, & Handaru, 2020).
Boomerang employees are not only about the upside but also have downsides of re-hiring them back. For example, given longer time and chances, other hires tend to improve more over time and are more likely to stay with the organization than boomerang employees (Arnold et al., 2021).
In addition, boomerang employees have a higher chance of being promoted compared to newly hired employees without regarding their performance, which could cause a conflict between existing employees (Laker, 2022). It could become uglier if the boomerang employees were not top talents in their previous spell because research by Arnold et al (2021) found that boomerang employees’ performance tends to remain the same. The existing employee who has the chance to work with related boomerang employees will show demotivated behavior as they expect the same conflict with the boomerang employees from their previous time inside organizations (Maurer, 2015). Lastly, changes in organizational culture, team climate, job demands, and management will make boomerang employees’ prior
knowledge and understanding ineffective in kickstarting their performances (Swider, et al., 2017).
There is a way to reduce the chance of conflict occurring when rehiring employees. The most crucial part for the company is to prepare an accepting environment within the organization before the rearrival of boomerang employees to avoid the downside. They need to socialize and ask about the possible uneasiness from the existing employees. With good communication and empathy, any barrier among employees can be torn and create chances to increase competitive advantages. Dialogue and understanding towards each other are necessary, so the pros of boomerang employees will outweigh the cons and create a productive environment. (RBA)