Revisiting an ex can be a taboo in the dating world, but not so much in the workplace. Returning a former employer, known as boomeranging, has a chance.
Boomerang workers have increasing in the past three years there were more people regretted joining The Great Resignation and companies are trying to solve their talent shortage. It’s a move that works for all parties involved—except for the new employer who is left in the dust.
But a new analysis published in Harvard Business Review which looked at three million employee records across 120-plus “enterprise-sized organizations” between 2019 and 2022 shed light on three major reasons why employees boomerang, which helps it’s up to you to know when it’s about to happen.
The first: Employees feel that their new organization has failed to live up to the promises it made or the expectations set when it hired them, such as promotion and growth opportunities or a job description that ended up failing to match its daily work. .
“Whether clear terms of employment are not met or employees perceive as a violation of their psychological contract (that is, the unspoken, assumed agreements between an employee and employer), employees who feel betrayed by their new organization are likely to return to their old. .” HBR wrote.
The second: Simple workers miss their work besties. The more they maintain strong social ties with their old coworkers, the more likely they are to boomerang. And the third: money, of course. Boomerang employees earn an average of 25% more than their return.
On the employer’s side, boomerang hires can be just as desirable; they for the most part already know the ropes, and it costs less to recruit than going on a month-long recruiting spree.
It’s clearer in hindsight
People have spent the past two years quitting their jobs in droves in search of greener pastures that offer better pay, flexibility, and more meaningful work. If their new gig fails to live up to its promises, their last employer might not look so bad in hindsight.
According to a February 2023 study by the payroll firm Paychex, 80% of workers who quit since 2020 regret it. Those who switch industries are also 25% more likely to count themselves members of the “Big Regret” than those who stay in their trades.
“We’re seeing more and more job seekers prioritize work-life balance and a positive workplace culture over high pay,” Andrew Crapuchettes, CEO of Idaho-based recruiting agency Red Balloon, SPOKE luck. “People want to be happy in their work, and that old saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’ is reflected in this survey.
An April 2022 report from the software company UKG found that over 40% of Great Resigners regretted it. In fact, 20% of respondents had boomeranged at the time of the survey.
But employers can work to prevent this by being honest and persistent. Giving candidates a realistic picture of the job has long been recognized as effective in reducing turnover, the researchers wrote in HBR. Also regularly conduct “retention interviews” to help bridge any miscommunication gaps early on.
One big asterisk, though: Boomerang employees, for all their praise, should not receive preferential treatment over existing employees.
“Nothing destroys trust and commitment like seeing a former employee rehired at a higher wage, while those who remain receive no compensation changes or career growth opportunities,” HBR reading. “Similarly, when employers lend new employees (who are more likely to boomerang) retention incentives while overlooking long-term employees, even the most loyal are likely to resent .”