Do You Want Boomerang Back Employees?

After voluntary job separations reached an all-time high in with the Great Resignation, we are shifting into the era of boomerang employees.

What Is a Boomerang Employee?

Boomerang employees are people who left your company, and you rehire them at a later date. These rehired employees either left the workforce entirely or accepted a job at another organization, then come back to seek re-employment at your company.

Keep in mind that this is an employee who worked for your company recently enough that at least some current employees remember them. It makes sense to treat them like other prospective new hires if they left years ago.

Bonus of Boomerangs

Hiring a boomerang employee can be mutually beneficial. If an employee left your company under reasonable terms and is qualified to fill one of your open positions, rehiring has advantages.

Hitting the ground running

Former employees already know your company culture and the operations of your organization. A study from the Academy of Management showed boomerangs could have a particular advantage in roles that require a higher degree of coordination and in departments that are more resistant to outsiders.

Feeling the familiar fit

You would only rehire a former employee if they left in good standing and performed well. You are likely to be more comfortable knowing this person vs. rolling the dice with an entirely new candidate. Boomerang employees have shown that they can perform as well as they did the first time around.

Reducing Costs

Hiring former employees can save you money in recruiting new hires, and they require less onboarding and training. In addition, rehiring may improve your retention because current employees may gain confidence in your company when they see people voluntarily return.

Baggage of Boomerangs

Even in this tight labor market, you need to address considerations when bringing an employee back into the fold. There are a couple of potential cons that are worth evaluating when considering a rehire, including:

Going into the deep end of the pool

Considering a larger candidate pool can increase your success in hiring and broaden your company’s variety of skill sets. We don’t recommend eliminating a group of highly-talented prospective candidates based solely on the fact that you have already worked with them once, especially if you are currently scrambling to find the right people.


A Harvard Business study reveals that boomerang employees who leave a company a second time tend to do so for reasons similar to their first departure. While this is potentially concerning, it also suggests some predictability. If you believe the reason for their initial decision to leave has been fully resolved, there may be a lower likelihood of them leaving soon again.

Resenting the rehires

Current employees may be frustrated or annoyed that you are giving a second chance to someone who left while they stayed with you throughout the pandemic, especially if the boomerang employee is coming back at a higher level than when they originally left.

Balancing the Boomerangs

Every situation is different, so you need to evaluate each candidate on a case-by-case basis. Soteria is your go-to source for best practices in hiring, onboarding, performance management, and more.


Cana Tighe