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When the New Hire Isn’t Really “New”

Ask any graduate of HR 101 and they will tell you that the employee life cycle is supposed to begin with recruitment and end with departure. Or at least that’s the way it used to be. Introducing the “boomerang employee.”   Or as we like to call it, the not-so New Hire. This new buzz word, in short, refers to all of those folks who left your organization and then return to work for you in some capacity at a later point.

Boomerang-employeesIt wasn’t too long ago that many organizations had a policy against hiring back former employees. According to Workplace Trends, a recent study of Human Resources professionals found that 85% of respondents had received applications from former employees and 40% had rehired almost half of the former employees who applied. Of course, those that were hired had left the organization in good standing.

The same study reported that 33% of HR professionals and 38% of managers agree that the biggest advantage of hiring back former employees is that they are already familiar with the organization’s culture. More than 30% of respondents reported that that boomerangs do not require as much training as a brand new employee, therefore reducing the traditional costs associated with new hires.

With so much experience at stake, employers are creating new incentive programs to ensure that boomerangs stay with their organization, often by offering them back their prior years of service after they maintain re-employment for one or two years. These years of service almost always tie to vacation and sick time, service awards and other incentives.

Boomerangs will mean more than increased competition in the job market. This trend does increase the span of the traditional employee life cycle as we know it. Not only do we see boomerangs being hired in the traditional sense, but we also see employers developing alumni networks of employees and using these networks to hire contract and contingent workers. So even if traditional employment has ended, the relationship may continue for a long time to come.

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