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What you should know about Boomerang Employees


Brendan Browne  is the Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn. He is also a Boomerang employee… sort of.  He left Microsoft about a decade ago to pursue other interests and recently joined LinkedIn, which today is owned by Microsoft.

Based on his own experience as a boomeranger, here’s Browne’s attitude toward employees who might decide to leave his company:

Come to LinkedIn, become part of our family, stay as long as you feel challenged and fulfilled. We will help you get to where you want to go, whether that’s here or somewhere else. Oh, and if you want to come back to LinkedIn for the right opportunity, the door is always open!

In a recent workplace survey of 1,800 professional (601 being HR professionals) on boomerang employees conducted by Kronos and WorkplaceTrends.com we learn that more and more companies are rehiring former employees and achieving positive results by doing so.

76% of the HR professionals surveyed said they were more likely to hire boomerang employees than in the past. And, 40% of the employees said they would consider returning to a past employer.

The times surely are a changin’!  And companies will have to adjust if they want to win the war for talent. In a 2016 LinkedIn study  it was found that young people who graduated from college 20 years ago changed jobs 1.6 times during their first five years post graduation. Those who graduated between 2006 and 2010 were shown to have changed jobs 2.85 times during their first 5 years out of college.

Young people are looking for new and different work experiences and looking to find these at different companies. That’s just part of their life, how they’re wired. Firms are more open today not only to welcome back top performing employees who left on good terms but also to pursue those who left to seek a new experience.

According to the WorkplaceTrends.com study, 85% of the HR professionals surveyed said they have received job applications from former employees and 40% stated that they ended up hiring about 50% of those who wanted to come back.

Boomerangers come in different shapes and sizes. Some left because they got a call from a headhunter with an offer they couldn’t refuse. Who can blame them? Others are looking for a growth opportunity rather then a new title or bigger paycheck. They might have moved to a different industry or even a different functional area.

I know several individuals who have left their job due to an important life event: care for a sick family member; international transfer of their spouse. How can you hold this departure against them? Wouldn’t a global company benefit from a returning employee who had spent a couple of years in a foreign country, due to their spouses transfer?

And then there are those type of boomerangers who have an itch to travel, ski or surf. They are great sales reps, and you want to have them on your team, but their passion is to spend as much time pursuing their hobby and your company is just a means to an end.  This is one you just have to get over and take what they have to offer your firm.

Boomerang employees are good at staying in touch with their former work colleagues. Facebook and LinkedIn make this possible. They know when jobs are open and with whom they should network with to be considered for the opening.

Most important, boomerangers know how to leave their current employer. They don’t burn bridges because they know that one day they might want to be welcomed back.

If your company isn’t staying in contact with top performers who have left on good terms, you are missing out on a future opportunity. Swallow your pride and realize that the times they have a changed.


Brian Hughes: 6 Reason Why You Should Rehire a Former Employee ,  Nov, 2, 2015 :

Alina Tugend:  Employees Who Leave Increasingly Return to the Fold, New York Times

Kerry Hannon: Welcome Back: Boomerang Employees Are on the Rise,  Forbes, Sept 7, 2015

Workplace Trends: “The Corporate Culture and Boomerang Employee Studyâ€, Sept. 1, 2015

Brendan Browne: “LinkedIn VP explains why ‘boomerang employees’ are becoming the new normal†Oct. 11, 2016

Undercover Recruiter:  The Benefits of Hiring Boomerang Employees

Chad Brooks, Welcome Back! Businesses Open Doors to Former Employees â€“ Sept. 6, 2016, Business News Daily:

Nicole Fallon: “Should You Hire a ‘Boomerang’ Employee?†Business News Daily, June 15, 2016

Guy Berger: Will This Year’s College Grads Job-Hop More Than Previous Grads?