Can Employers and Boomerang Hires Reconcile in Happy Outcomes?
When Thomas Wolfe wrote, “You can’t go home again,” we know he probably wasn’t talking about going back to a job you vacated since the start of the pandemic, but for today’s worker – he could have been. Maybe you left because you were struggling to figure out a home school situation or you were laid off due to business shutdowns or maybe you felt under-appreciated or underpaid. No matter the reason, the grass looked greener somewhere else, and you weren’t alone. The “Great Resignation” has seen more than 4 million American workers say goodbye to their employers – many cited low pay, lack of opportunity and feeling disrespected. According to a Harris poll, some individuals didn’t want to give up remote work (41%) when in-office business resumed and 33% just wanted to change industries.
Pew Research also reports that more than half (56%) of the individuals who changed jobs in 2021 are now earning more money and 53% say they have found an easier time living with an improved work/life balance. But not everybody is happy. A significant number of those who left their jobs in late 2021 are now experiencing what is called “Quitter’s Remorse.” Career platform, The Muse, reports that 70% of those who left their roles regret their decision, believing the job they are now in, is not at all how it was described, especially when it comes to company culture. LinkedIn reports that the average time it took employees to return to an old employer was 17.3 months.
So, can you go back to what you once had? Do you really want to? Who left who? Did you resign or were you laid off?
Only you can answer these questions and much depends on how you left and what you said when you walked out the door. We are constantly telling candidates to never ever burn bridges – to leave a job gracefully and to do it like a professional. Some employers will embrace former employees like they were a family member coming home, others will wonder is it just another stop gap measure and have a sense of mistrust.
In those cases where the employee was laid off, companies may realize they may have cut too deep and would welcome an individual who knows the job, the processes, and the people. One employer who has rehired a ‘BOOMERANG EMPLOYEE’ reports that ramp up time is minimal, and they can start to make an impact almost immediately, given their prior experience with the organization.
If it was a job you loved and got along with colleagues and management, then it might not be so bad to “boomerang back.” That’s why it’s especially important to never bad mouth an ex-employer verbally or on social media. Still, it’s not always rosy for returning workers who sometimes feel resentment from the individuals who remained at the employer and have been doing double workloads. Companies should make universal decisions about benefits and seniority so that one returning worker does not have a different deal from another. And the boomeranger should also make sure he or she isn’t harboring hurt feelings about being let go that ultimately are expressed through his or her on-the-job performance or attitude.
It’s tough to be in the difficult position of trying to decide whether to return to your old company or to test out a new opportunity. Do you look back at where you’ve been and what you know, or do you look ahead at what’s unknown and what could be? Both places have pros and cons.
For the person considering going back to a former job, answer these questions first:
- What is the current atmosphere at your old employer?
- Has morale sunk to a new low or has it remained optimistic or even improved?
- Are you coming back into the same role, or will you now be at a lower or higher level?
- Are your pay, benefits and seniority levels impacted?
- Can you abide by new policies about remote or in-office protocol?
- If you might be returning to the employer, but not the same job are you able to re-interview with either HR or your new manager? Gauge the tone and connection you feel in such an interview.
- If the pandemic and the “Great Resignation” had never happened, is it likely you would still be in this role today?
- Is your old employer trying to lure you back with more money or better terms because they miss your contributions or are they unable to find a replacement? Why didn’t you get appropriate compensation before and is their new appreciation of your skill set just a temporary measure save themselves?
- What’s truly driving your desire to return – the work itself, the culture, the disenchantment with your current situation?Motivation matters.
As many companies currently struggle with recruitment challenges, a few have decided to keep better track of former workers and tap into them as a Talent Pipeline either for rehire or for candidate referrals.
For the employer considering rehiring a former employee, these questions are for you:
- Did the individual leave under negative circumstances?
- Can the boomeranger clearly articulate why s/he wants to return?
- Was the employee a good performer when s/he was part of your workforce – or were you settling for mediocre work? Would hiring and training someone new be a better investment?
- How will this person’s return impact your current workforce?
There are both positives and negatives to hiring an ex-employee, but many managers report the returning team member outperforms new hires because they feel more productive with renewed job satisfaction. The individual who chooses to return already knows your culture, so they are clearly comfortable with it as their work environment. Lastly, any time away may bring new business insights, particularly if their hiatus was with a competitor. Data from WorkplaceIntelligence.com reveals that 43% of individuals who quit admit they were better off in their old job with 1 in 5 already boomeranging back.
The people who seem to do best at boomeranging back are those that say “Yes” to a re-hire because they really want to be back in a job and company that they truly liked, not because they are desperate for a paycheck, change or are chasing a dream.
LLoyd’s EVP Jason Banks, CSP says, “We’ve counseled both business clients and candidate talent on the boomerang option. We tell candidates to never end any job in a bad way and if you want to return to your old company, to call and personally express to either your former manager or HR what you learned by leaving – both good and bad. On the employer side you must remember why the individual left and how they left. Will it be better for the company moving forward to rehire this individual – because you don’t want it to be the same as it was. Ideally, you rehire because it will lead to growth!”
#boomerangemployee #quittersremorse #rehire
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