Boomerangs – former employees who return to your company as employees, partners, and advocates – are an important engine for a positive work culture that delivers a positive bottom-line. In fact, Boomerangs will become more important to business in the future, as Millennials and GenZers continue re-shape what a career trajectory looks like in today’s world.
As the CEO of a medium-size public relations and social media company that has re-employed more than a dozen former employees, I can tell you that bringing people back is one of the top three things we can do to drive our business.
Why is bringing back “the old” an engine for the future? Because a work environment great people want to return to, is a better environment to stay in. The more effort you devote to creating a culture that welcomes good people back, the better the culture is for the professionals who are driving your business today. And great people doing great work longer is a key strategic advantage any company will have over their competitors.
“Boomerangs are drivers of sustainable business.” – Lee Caraher
3 Ways Boomerangs Add Value
1. Boomerangs Prove Your Point.
Boomerangs prove that the attention you pay to your business, your people and their development, and the behaviors that you promote or do not allow, creates an environment not just worth spending time in, but preferable to stay in. Acceleration Partners CEO Robert Glazer has talked often about the power of values – the guiding principles that define individual and group behavior and standards – for your business and team. When people return to your team, the implied statement is that your values and vision make a difference in the world of your employees. In my experience, and as evidenced in the more than 100 interviews I conducted for The Boomerang Principle: Inspiring Lifetime Loyalty From Your Employees, a business that allows and encourages great people to return, experiences less employee churn than those that don’t. Less churn translates to high efficiency: higher efficiency is real money.
2.Boomerangs Are More Valuable Faster.
Onboarding Boomerang employees should be taken as seriously as onboarding new employees. What has changed? Who has changed roles? What’s new in the business? What new tools or processes are in place today? While the person was a way from the team, she changed and evolved, and so did the team – she’s not returning to the exact place she left. However, once those changes are understood, Boomerang employees onboard to their positions demonstrably faster than new employees. In my experience, returning employees can be fully utilized within 30 days as opposed to the six to nine months it takes new employees to become a fully functional and contributing member of the team. That efficiency drops right to the bottom-line.
3. Boomerangs Come Back More Valuable Than When They Left.
Employees returning to your company have the benefit of the experience they got away from your team. A Boomerang – the kind you throw – travels far and wide before it arcs to return to the place of the throw. It covers a lot of area – longitudinally and laterally. Likewise, an employee who returns to you covers a lot of area during his time away from you – learning new skills, making new contacts, fostering productive relationships, gaining new insights, and evolving as a person. When they come back, Boomerang employees are not the same people or professionals as when they left. In my experience returning employees provide valuable new dimension to their work and more value to their teams.
The Boomerang Principle – the belief that those organizations that allow and encourage former employees to return have a strategic advantage over those that don’t – will help any business not just sustain but move forward into the future. As counter-intuitive as it may seem that “old” employees can help drive a company into the future, the benefits boomerang employees bring to a company culture, profile and bottom-line are demonstrable and valuable.
Lee Caraher is the CEO of Double Forte, a national PR & Social Media firm headquartered in San Francisco and New York. Her 2nd book, The Boomerang Principle: Inspire Lifetime Loyalty From Your Employees (Taylor & Francis, April 2017) is available now in bookstores and online.
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