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Boomerang Workers Flying Back to Past Employers

They’re ba-ack!

Boomerangs are flying all over the place. And landing back where they started.

Boomerang Workers Flying Back to Past Employers

We’re talking about boomerang employees, of course. According to Forbes “Boomerang Employees Are On The Rise,” returning to former employers to resume their careers after taking a break, seeking greener pastures, having a family, etc.

If you’re like most people, when you depart an employer, your instinct is to move on and don’t look back. Yet, in a national survey of more than 1,800 HR professionals cited by Forbes, attitudes about the workplace have evolved. Former employees are returning to the fold and being greeted with open arms by their previous colleagues. And 76 percent of HR professionals say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past. Managers agree, as nearly two-thirds said they are more accepting of hiring back former colleagues.

What’s up with this trend, and why is it happening?

In truth, landing a job these days is not all that different than it used to be. Employers hire people they know, or referrals from people they know. According to CareerBuilder, 82 percent of employers rate employee referrals above all other sources for generating the best return on investment.

And if you are already a proven commodity, why not?

“It’s less risky in so many ways,” said Sandy Jess, MATRIX Resources HR Director. “Taking someone who is a proven performer versus taking an unknown, makes so much sense.” 

And it’s easier to assimilate them once they come on board. “There’s little training,” said Jess. “They know your processes. They know your people. It’s almost like they walk in and they are already ramped up.”

There’s also a huge PR benefit for brand conscious companies (and who isn’t brand conscious these days with Internet flamers just one click away from your online reputation.) “It sends a message to others that we are forgiving and that we don’t close the door,” said Jess, “regardless of their reasons for leaving.”

What’s the attraction for employees? 

For me (as a former MATRIX employee and now a content marketing contractor), the reasons are similar. I’m still regularly hired to work as a writer for former employers and bosses from my previous positions, and I love the familiarity. Part of it is knowing what I’m getting into, so it removes the fear of the unknown. Plus, I am already knowledgeable with their cultures, clients and products, making it easier to intelligently write for them without a lot of missteps.

For MATRIX Recruiter Nicki Ford, the road back home was a little circuitous. After moving to America from Europe twelve years ago, her first job was as a recruiter with MATRIX. After one year and wanting to start a family, she took a break and worked part time as a massage therapist while raising two children.

Fast forward ten years, Ford wanted to get back into the corporate world, a good salary and regular hours. “When I thought about what I wanted to do, it all came back to recruiting,” she said.

She had continued to stay in touch with friends at MATRIX and when an opening came up, she jumped at the opportunity and was welcomed back, though not without some challenges.

“I knew the market much better but still had to prove myself again, because a lot of them didn’t remember me,” she said.

Ford noted one big cultural difference between today and 2003, for which she is very appreciative. “Ten years ago there was absolutely no working from home. Not even on a snow day, “she said. “As a working mother, this is a huge priority on my list. Today, if I get a call from school and have to go home, I can do that and work just as well from my laptop.”

Did moving around a bit hurt her career? “I don’t see it as a negative,” she said. “You mature as a person, and know better what you want as you grow older. People do that at different times in their lives. Some just take longer than others.”

Have you had a similar or different experience as a boomerang employee? Share this post with your own story and tag us @MATRIXResources.

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