Recruiting Trends: Don’t Burn Your Bridges – Embrace Boomerang Talent

Lisa Pera, Director of HR Client Services at Princeton Health System and Shelly Olenjniczak, Vice President of Cielo Healthcare, collaborated to create a piece for the website of international media company, Recruiting Trends. Specifically, Don’t Burn Your Bridges: Embrace Boomerang Talent, explores why, with turnover costs “adding up to as much as 150 percent of a departing employee’s annual salary,” rehiring former talent can drastically improve your bottom line – as well as support culture, engagement and retention. 

Excerpts from the article:

If you’re not actively incorporating boomerang talent – or employees who leave and then return – into your current talent acquisition strategies, you may be missing out on golden opportunities.

Why Boomerang Talent is Important 
Because former employees are already familiar with your business, they require significantly less training, thus reducing onboarding costs and freeing up internal resources. Boomerang employees also tend to have higher retention rates upon their return. Since they have experienced what it is like to work for another organization and yet have chosen to return to your company, they are more likely to be highly engaged with the work.

Additionally, returning hires become true advocates for your company … Current employees, who are exploring other career opportunities available to them, may think twice about leaving when they see a former colleague return after spending time at another company.

How You Get Talent to Return
As with any talent strategy, your organization’s leadership must have a clear and deliberate vision. Starting January 2010, the leaders at Princeton Health System made the bold decision to end all employee exit interviews. Instead, dollars and resources were put toward developing an exclusive alumni portal … The alumni network provides select former employees the opportunity to stay connected to the company immediately following their departure … Those who are invited to join the alumni network are updated on current Princeton initiatives and news through monthly newsletters, featured "hot job" listings, social media postings and other community updates. 

The results of Princeton's boomerang talent initiatives are quantifiable: since the introduction of the alumni network four years ago, approximately 12 percent of hires have been returning employees.


While there historically may be a negative stigma associated with departing employees, current high turnover rates indicate that businesses must change the way they view and recruit talent if they wish to compete in today’s market.