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6 Tips for Boomerang Hiring- How to Add Champions to Your Team


A boomerang hire simply means you rehire someone who previously left your company. In the past, once an employee leaves a company, they are never considered for rehire again. Today, however, it’s a different story.

Many companies practice the notion that once an employee announces they are leaving, they are ushered out of the business. This type of management style normally reminds employees why they keep their true life and career plans a secret. In my article, “Celebrating Mistakes: Are You Creating Robots or Valuable Assets?“, I address several issues and solutions to this type of management style. 

Making an honest evaluation of the person’s performance requires an honest evaluation of your management style and the culture in the business. Don’t look at things with rose-colored glasses; get real with yourself and your management team why good people leave your organization. 

Every business has turnover. It’s a natural occurrence because your business is changing. At different times in the maturity cycle it requires different skill sets and attitudes. Maybe your management team is young and learning how to lead people, so mistakes are made. For whatever reason, people are hired with all the good intentions, but they leave. 

Are all employees who leave duds? The answer to that is clearly no.

Many employees who leave were good leaders or possibly they were aspiring leaders. These champions don’t always come around. Sometimes good people leave for good reasons. When one of your champions leave, consider the following 6 tips.

6 Tips For Boomerang Hiring

  1. Strategy matters. Don’t be naive and think you should never hire an employee back who left. Make it a practice to keep in touch with champion employees who leave your company. Deploy this strategy as a tool in your arsenal to recruit, train, and retain employees.
  2. Create a safe environment for those leaving. Once they announce they are leaving and you are sure you can’t retain them, set them free. Keep the conversations fresh and appreciative when other employees are talking about them. Never say a bad thing about them to others. Throw a party and celebrate their contributions to your company. Imagine what that does for all your other employees who are still there. That alone may be the reason to do it.
  3. Boomerang hiring reduces your cost-per-hire. It creates more depth in your hiring pool. They bring a known level of competency to the table. They’re already versed in your culture and business practices. Statistically, it’s proven they stay with the job longer. They could quickly raise morale too. 
  4. Don’t hire them just because you like them. Make sure they have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes you want for the role and position. Familiarity and ease of hiring could mask problems. Learn the lessons from the past.
  5. Conduct thorough exit interviews. When an employee leaves, it’s an opportunity to learn. Read between the lines while also being mature enough to recognize truths about your management style. A strong willed personality will tell you straight up, but other personalities styles may not. Many people don’t always make good life decisions that ultimately affect career choices. By practicing #6, you will know the patterns that exist so you can make a better judgment call.
  6. Know who your champions are on your team. Pay attention to them and ensure your culture walks the talk so there are no surprises when someone has to leave. Remember, the person who always speaks out may not be the leader that influences others the most. Silent leaders influence more than you might realize. It is important to keep highly motivated people engaged and involved to retain them.

Employers thinking about incorporating this type of strategy should consider modeling their program after major universities that offer an alumni community. They practice keeping in touch, sharing information about changes, and successful experiences. Business owners today, like universities, recognize that loyalty doesn’t go away when the employee leaves the company; instead, they keep it throughout their careers and flourish over time as they navigate the workforce. Keeping in touch with those who left your company can be a gold mine for new recruits. 

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