Boomerang Hires – More Than Just A Passing Fad!

If you haven’t already experienced a few “Boomerang Hires,” the odds are excellent that in the months ahead, you will.  If you’re not yet familiar with the term, here’s a quick primer on what it means, and more significantly, why it matters to your company.

Back in the good old days when Baby Boomers dominated the nation’s workforce, most employees were of the mindset that once they got a job at a company, they’d keep that job for as long as they could.  Ideally, that would see them working their entire career at a single company, or a relatively small number of different companies, diligently making their way up the ranks and then, eventually retiring.

Today’s workforce, dominated by Generation Z and Millennials, take a very different view, and one that’s causing a great deal of disruption and consternation among the ranks of upper management, business owners and HR departments all across the nation.

Rather than finding a great company to work for and sticking with it long term, these two generations are much more prone to job hopping for faster advancement and better pay.  They see it as a viable strategy for climbing the corporate ladder more quickly, and Gen Z in particular, has really embraced the idea, with fully 83% of GenZer’s describing themselves as job hoppers.

The trend isn’t nearly as pronounced among the ranks of Millennials, but it’s still definitely there, and this can lead to disappointment and frustration among business owners and members of a company’s upper management team if it takes them by surprise.

The thing is, the Gen Zer’s and Millennials aren’t wrong.  You’ve probably experienced the same dilemma they encountered when you were in the early part of your own working career.  It’s quite likely that you’d get a modest annual raise, only to watch new hires at your company come in with starting salaries higher than your own.

That’s the genesis of job hopping.  That’s the instantiating event, and for the generations in question, it’s working. 

According to a 2023 study published in the Harvard Business Review, boomerang employees who left a given firm usually return within 13 months and when they do, they receive a whopping 25% pay raise, on average.  That’s huge, and it’s certainly a good incentive to do some job hopping!

While many in upper management are struggling to come to terms with the Boomerang phenomenon, others have simply decided to embrace it.  Among them is Simon Cox, the CTO at the software company “ServiceNow.”

He points out that it might be helpful to do away with the “Boomerang” descriptor entirely, and notes that it is often the case that employees leave a given firm because they’re looking for experience and experiences that their current employer simply cannot provide, and that once they’ve gained that experience, they’re happy to return.

When seen through that lens, an employee who leaves, gains valuable experience and returns, bringing that experience with him or her is adding value to the company and has to be seen as a good thing.

In addition to that, since the returning employee is already steeped in your company’s culture and understands how you operate, there’s significantly less of a learning curve, which makes onboarding (or in this case, re-boarding?) the employee faster and thus, less expensive.

Taken together, and given the fact that there’s no evidence that GenZer’s and Millennials will stop the practice, Cox’s advice is to simply embrace it.  It’s happening.  It’s going to keep happening.  If you don’t embrace it, you’re destined to lose out on the return of some spectacular employees. 

That sounds like solid advice, and if you’re looking for a simple, cost-effective way to welcome a returning employee back, be sure to check out some of our new employee gifts.  We’re constantly expanding our product selection so if you spend some time browsing, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for.  We’ve got gifts for every taste, preference and budget!