Is HR really ready to hire back former staff?

Welcoming back ex-employees – or “boomerang employees” to re-join firms is fast becoming a trend worldwide – but are HR and business leaders doing all they can to attract and support these staff in the first place?

In a new study by The Workforce Institute at Kronos and, a gap exists between HR leaders and workers/managers when it comes to maintaining relationships with former staff.

It found that while organisations appear increasingly more accepting of boomerang applicants, 80% of staff say former employers do not have a strategy in place to encourage them to return.

More than six out of 10 (64%) of employees also say there appears to be no strategy for maintaining a relationship with them.

In addition, nearly half of managers said their organisation has no alumni communication strategy.

HR leaders, on the other hand, stated they use several strategies for keeping in touch with former high-performing employees.

These included email newsletters (45%), recruiters (30%), and alumni groups (27%).

“With this boomerang trend on the rise, it’s more important than ever for organizations to create a culture that engages employees – even long after they’ve gone – and organizations should consider how the boomerang employee factor should affect their off-boarding and alumni communications strategies for top performers,” said David Almeda, chief people officer, Kronos.

The survey stressed on the importance of maintaining good relations with ex-employees, especially because majority of the respondents stated the benefits of hiring back boomerang staff are many.

Both HR professionals (33%) and managers (38%) agreed that familiarity with the firm’s culture is the biggest benefit to hiring back former employees.

Nearly one- third of respondents also appreciated that boomerangs do not require as much training as a brand new employee.

The report warned, however, that hiring back former employees was not completely void of risks or concerns.

Nearly one-third of HR professionals and managers claimed that boomerang employees have a stigma hanging over their heads that they might leave again.

More than one-quarter of them also stated these employees may have the same baggage they originally left with.

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