What are boomerang employees and why are they more common recently?

Boomerang employees are more common than before. That’s a fact HR professionals can’t ignore anymore. Former employees are sending CVs again, people are leaving and coming back to the same position or to another department. Previous employees stopped being “forgotten forever” as soon as they quit.
Would you like to know what you should do as a former employer? Or maybe you’re just interested in this phenomenon from a psychological perspective?
You’re in a right place. Keep reading!

What is a boomerang employee?

A boomerang employee is a person who left an organization and then came back to work at it again.

The term boomerang employee is used in the US and Australia, while re-hire is more commonly used in the UK. In Canada, the term re-engagement is more common.
No matter if you call them boomerang workers, former employees or re-hires, you think about the same situation. Your former employee comes back to be hired in a different or even the same position, and you agree.

Former employees coming back – not a new trend

It is important to note that boomerang employees are not entirely new. They have been around for years, and the trend has grown recently, with more and more companies embracing the idea of hiring people who are their former workers.

However, the biggest boom had a place in 2021 – and definitely may be a COVID-19 effect. As many other trends are. There are many reasons why it could happen.

The pandemic itself caused many depressions, and breakdowns, and ended up with decisions that people wouldn’t make in a normal situation. We can analyze some possible scenarios now.

Boomerang employee coming back


Why did boomerang employees leave in the first place?

It’s not unheard of for employees to take a short break from their jobs, but it can be a bit confusing if you’re not sure what they mean when they say they’re “boomeranging back.”

When we speak about boomerang employees, we don’t mean long vacations or parental leave, of course. These are people that we would not expect to come back after they decided to quit.

So, why did they leave?

Wrong company culture could be an answer normally, but as boomerang workers come back, it can’t be the case. No one would agree to work in a bad environment again, clearly. We need to think about something else.

Reasons that boomerang workers leave in the first place:

  • despite positive company culture, they felt not “in the right place” and they simply needed to check it out,
  • other people who quit were their friends, and they felt “pushed” to do the same,
  • they wanted to consider a different career path,
  • they were promised to get much higher pay for the same job,
  • they felt the wave of the “great resignation” so they simply followed the trend,
  • they were sick, wanted to move to another city, or had other more personal reasons.

Why do boomerang employees come back?

Ok, so we know some reasons why former workers quit. Now it’s a good time to think about why they come back. This is an important step before hiring boomerang employees back. Sometimes returning employees generate very real risk for you, and you should not take it.

Reasons that former employees come back that are good for you:

  • the new job turned out to not suit their path as they hoped for,
  • they decided to stay where they lived after all,
  • you boosted your positive company culture, and they are happy about that,
  • your HR professionals created a successful “come back” plan,
  • a personal reason that made them do this career move has changed.

Reasons that former workers come back that generate a real risk for you:

  • you’ve just proposed a higher salary for their previous position (and they left before for the same reason),
  • they simply want your social systems for returning workers,
  • they thought that boomerang employment is “trending”,
  • their former boss fired them,
  • they have no door open anywhere else, so they come back because your company is their only choice.

Of course, there are many more reasons that your former employee wants to come back and become a boomerang employee. As many people, as many possible scenarios. We can’t cover all of them.

Think about these points above as a general map. They should simply give you some feeling about what’s good for you and what’s not. After all, you as a former employer know your employee records, their advantages, and disadvantages.


Pros and cons of hiring a former employee

There are many benefits to hiring boomerang employees. Foremost, they are familiar with your company’s culture and structure, which saves you time training them in their new role.
Boomerangs also have experience working in the industry, making them ideal candidates.

They’re reliable and hard-working (or they wouldn’t have returned), so they likely won’t need as much supervision as someone unfamiliar with your team’s dynamics. They also must feel good about you as their former employers. The same company again? That means something!

As someone once said, if you race for someone, let them go. They come back? They will be yours forever. They don’t? They have never been yours. This quote is all about love of course, but there’s some truth in it, right?
Finally, there’s a strong possibility that other employees may refer their boomerang to work at your company again—and having existing employees vouched for by those who know the person well can make the hiring process easier for everyone involved!

How do you keep boomerang employees from leaving again?

So, how to handle boomerang employees?

The most important thing to do when you have a boomerang employee is to make sure they’re happy.

If your company has the right type of culture and values, your employees will want to stick around. You should also create opportunities for growth within the organization so that they don’t feel like they’ve plateaued at their current position.

This can be done through training programs or by giving them more responsibility and freedom within their job descriptions. If their former manager was the one who made them leave because of micromanagement… you know you need to work on that!

Viewing employees as a long-term investment rather than an expense will help with keeping boomerang employees from leaving again in the future. All these tips are also good for keeping your new hires, of course.

A clear career path with plenty of opportunities for learning and development will ensure that your best workers are invested in your business’s success over time—and won’t be tempted to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Boomerang employees are commonly used by companies to fill roles that require specific skills or experience.

They may have left the organization for a short time and returned, or they may have been away for years. Typically, boomerang employees return because they feel that their previous employer is a good fit for what they need from their next position.

When considering whether to hire a boomerang employee, ask yourself if this person will be able to contribute to your company in terms of skill sets and organizational knowledge.

Another important consideration is whether your company culture would be compatible with theirs; otherwise you could end up losing them again soon after hiring them back!

I wouldn’t be myself If I didn’t mention what TimeCamp can do for you here. Because even if it doesn’t seem obvious, it can!

Rehired employees, current employees or completely new hires… all want to be appreciated and trusted. They all wish to grow and to get more opportunities (and money, of course).

TimeCamp helps you in all of these fields. There’s no need for micromanagement when your employees track time and learn from their own mistakes.

There’s trust when everyone is transparent. You see what they do, and they see… what you do. That’s fair, right?

There’s a plan for growth when you can check all the projects, analyze the data and make a plan!

Sounds good, right? Read more about why you need time-tracking reports 🙂


We’re living in an era where people are more likely to move from job to job and company to company than ever before.

In addition, millennials—who make up a large part of the workforce—are especially prone to switching jobs frequently.

This means that there’s been a rise in boomerang employees over the last few years: people who leave their jobs, but then come back again for another stint in an organization.

Boomerang employees can be very helpful for your business and have many benefits, but they also come with some downsides that you should consider before hiring one.

What are boomerang employees and why are they more common recently?

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