Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Boomerang Employees

Boomerangs - also commonly referred as “rehires,” and “retreads”- are all names given to the employees who are rehired by their ex-employers. They are the alumnae, the former employees, who return to an organisation.

In the already saturated talent market, and the practices like poaching being followed to attract the best talent from the competitors, most of the sectors are facing high attrition rates. Keeping in view the prevalent scenario, organisations have opened doors to welcome the employees who have left them on a good note and had proved to be good performers for the organisation in the past. Employees leave organisations for various reasons. Most of them are tempted by the “greener pastures on the other side”.
Often, the employees realize that there previous organisation wasn’t that bad to work. And sometimes, even the organisation fails to find the suitable candidate with the required skill set, experience etc. Boomerang hiring has come across as an effective solution to the various HR problems for the organisations.

The trend of boomerang hiring is catching up fast in the worldwide corporate world. But a few years back hiring the ex-employees of an organisation was not an acceptable practice. Organisations followed it as a policy of not taking back the employees who have left their organisation for a better opportunity. Leaving an organisation was taken as a perfidy. But today, where change is the only constant thing, boomerang hiring is the latest trend in hiring. Recruitment policies have been modified to incorporate the hiring of boomerangs in the organisation.

The benefits of hiring boomerangs:
  • Rehiring an employee is beneficial for the organisation because of the high costs involved in the recruiting a new employee.

  • Also, investments have to be made in the training and development of the new employee. Retraining is much cheaper than training and development of a new employee.

  • It takes time for the new employee to adapt and adjust to the organisational culture, understand work and start delivering results, whereas, the former employee is already familiar with the culture, procedures and practices and the people.

  • Many a times coming after testing the bad water, boomerang employees are considered to be more loyal towards the organisation than before. By sharing their experiences and the difficulties faced outside the organisation, boomerangs can help tremendously in boosting the morale of other employees in the organisation and can raise the goodwill of the organisation as an employer.

  • Boomerangs come with a renewed sense of commitment and loyalty and bring new experiences and perspective, sometime even better skills and knowledge.

The former employees may not be in touch with the organisation, but they would definitely be maintaining contact with some of their former colleagues or friends in the organisation. Any mentioned instance of dissatisfaction at the new job can be a chance to get them back. It is always advisable to let your star employee know (when leaving the organsiation) that he would be welcomed if he ever wants to return. Organisations can also start alumni clubs for their ex-employees. This is being practiced by many organisations to stay in touch with their ex-employees. Informing and updating them about the major events, happenings and the requirements can play a crucial role in making the employees feel that they are valued.

In India, the BPO industry, which is facing the hard truth of high attrition rates and retention problems, has adopted the policy of boomerang hiring. For instance: Integreon has also adopted the 'Boomerang' policy whereby it is hiring its former employees back in the organisation. Boomerangs constitute a large percentage of the current Integreon employees and they are the people who realize its worth as an employer and appreciate its policies and culture. The condition that Integreon has for accepting boomerangs is that the employees should have left at a cordial note and should have any performance issues associated in the past.

Similarly, a leading name in BPO industry, 24/7 Customer also has a policy for boomerang hiring. And to beat the hesitation of approaching the former employer, the policy of hiring their ex-employees is communicated to its employees at the time of leaving the organisation or in their exit interviews.
Dangers of Boomerang Hiring
Despite the various benefits mentioned above, hiring the former employees does not come without some dangers or exceptions –as you may call it. In some cases, the job responsibilities and the required skill set itself changes over the course of time, making it difficult for the boomerang to adjust again in the organisation.

Many employees tend to bring back the baggage of the bad experiences with them and can also exploit the advantage of their knowledge and experience of the organisation.
Often, boomerangs are found to be the best fit for a job. And in today’ s dynamic workforce and workplace, where nor the employees are reluctant to welcome back their ex-employees and neither are employees embarrassed to go back to their ex-employers or organisations; hiring boomerangs can be the strategy for surviving in this competitive corporate world.

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