“Boomerang hires” according to Professor David Collings, at the recent HR Leadership Summit, are becoming increasingly common in the Irish market and forms part of TA strategies for companies thinking progressively about talent pipe-lining.

What exactly is a Boomerang hire? Someone who leaves an organisation and re-joins that same organisation at a later date. Examples of high profile Boomerang hires include Steve Jobs (left Apple and returned to lead it to massive success) and LeBron James (left Cleveland in 2010 and returned in 2014, a success story that means now he one of the worlds top paid sports stars). Once upon a time, the saying that “the door is always open” simply wasn’t really true -In 2016, a worktrends survey details that over 50% had a policy against hiring previous employees.

Now, things have really shifted whereby some companies are being proactive about planning for future potential boomerang hires, facilitated by social media and alumni groups. My opinion is that Boomerang hires are still not commonplace and it is clear that most people don’t consider it as an option from either the employer or employees perspective. The question is why not?

Have you, as a business, had a Boomerang hire this year? If not, you may be overlooking a huge opportunity with benefits as follows: 

  • A once strong performer will (typically) always be a strong performer – forecasting how they will work out is less of a guessing game
  • A former employee, returning at a more senior level, are in a position to make change and have an impact far faster and more effectively than someone who does not know the lay of the land, company or industry
  • Employee knows a lot about the company and has made a more educated decision having once worked there – less likely to leave anytime soon
  • Easy on boarding and getting up to speed quickly

I have helped place a number of boomerang hires in the past couple of years, and at the start candidates are normally surprised when I mention an opportunity that means going back to a previous organisation – however I have seen it in reality work out really well. Normally the employee goes back at a more senior level, with fresh ideas, different experience and due to time passed, they often go back to an organisation that has gone through change and not the same as it once was.

Hopefully this is a bit of food for thought around the potential of Boomerangs and the value ex-employees can bring to the table after developing more skills and experience outside the company. Let’s keep eyes and ears open to the possibility of boomerang hires in 2018!