By Dawn Rauhe, VP – Client Services

To help fill positions amid the spikes in turnover, talent acquisition leaders are hiring more boomerang employees – past talent who return to a company after spending time away. The idea of boomerangs was an anomaly not long ago, but the challenges over the past two years have led employers to embrace them.

It makes sense: these people already know the culture and inner workings of the company and can quickly add value to the business. Former employees may also come back with a greater sense of loyalty, boosting retention.

Since individuals voluntarily leave for all kinds of reasons, such as pay, flexibility and purpose, you must take a multifaceted approach to attracting boomerangs. Here are five strategies to recruit former employees and ensure they stick around:

  1. Look inward & make necessary changes
    Firstly, look inward and explore why people are leaving. This will help you and other business leaders pinpoint opportunities for change – developments that former employees will likely be thankful to see. Conduct an exit interview to learn why they resigned. Providing space for an open conversation, showing that leaders are open to feedback, and then taking the steps to address any issues, can go a long way.

  2. Show appreciation & wish them well
    How you treat an employee when they leave makes all the difference. The last day of employment is critical to a successful boomerang campaign and the perfect opportunity for a simple farewell gesture, such as a card or small gift to wish them success and share that the door is always open. No matter how you show appreciation, make sure it is custom to the individual and personally delivered.

  3. Maintain communication once they’re gone
    Ensure you have a way to connect to the alumni talent pool. A good way to do so is through personal outreach or by creating groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. These are great platforms for distributing company news, sharing job opportunities, and general engagement. Invite them to join immediately upon their departure and keep the content up-to-date and engaging through quarterly newsletters or alumni events. Note that critical check-in points are 90 days and six months after an employee leaves.

  4. Tailor your hiring efforts
    Once you establish a method of communication with former employees, what you share with them is crucial. Traditional “we are hiring” posts may work for new candidates, but boomerangs need a stronger reason to consider coming back. Highlight company benefits or growth that has occurred based on internal feedback. If your company switched to a flexible vacation policy, then consider creating a job post around that. Another powerful tool is the employee spotlight, where you can showcase individuals who left and why they decided to return to the company.

  5. Give them a new reason to stay
    To get past employees to come back and stay, your company must provide a powerful, new reason. Start by ensuring the culture empowers people to make decisions, which requires trust among all job levels, clear communication, strategic delegation, tools and resources. It’s also important to continuously gather employee feedback by conducting surveys, stay interviews, and regularly touching base about what is going well, plus any concerns or recommendations. Reward them for their loyalty and hard work through bonuses, career growth, and benefits that meet expectations.

Understanding why people leave, treating them well amid the transition, maintaining communication, and showcasing growth are key steps to winning back highly sought-after boomerangs – and building a more loyal workforce. Need help getting started? An external strategic partner can support you in successfully attracting boomerangs and building other talent acquisition solutions.



Connect with Dawn on LinkedIn.


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