Boomerang Workers

As unemployment is very low (4.4%) and companies are scrambling to find great employees, they are re-hiring old employees known as boomerang workers.

I am seeing an interesting phenomenon as unemployment is very low (4.4%) and companies are scrambling to find great employees.  Many companies are looking at tried and true employees. They are re-hiring old employees that were let go in leaner times.  Hiring experts call these people “boomerang workers.”

“It's a very smart, enlightened policy,” said Joyce Gioia, president of The Herman Group, a workforce consulting business in Greensboro, North Carolina. “It means that you have taken advantage of the knowledge capital that was built up and you've lost in the past.” Some companies actively encourage the process. Pittsburgh-based advertising company, Marc USA, hands out real wooden boomerangs to people they rehire. Michele Fabrizi, the company's president and CEO, launched “Michele's Boomerang Club” six years ago.

If you told your boss he was the back end of a horse when you left, this may not be an option for you. 

But if you left with dignity, asking about being rehired may be a strong possibility.

More on Boomerang Workers

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  • Pete Wilmot

    That’s right. Burn no bridges. It does you no good and you never know what the future holds. Be professional and above the fray! Great article!

  • Scott O’Connell

    I’m currently in that situation. I pointed out politely and professionally some cultural issues that need to change in the office. I didn’t think that things would change and politely told them. Things did change and they gave me a call to see if I would consider returning in a different role with more responsibility. Never burn the bridge.

    • Scott – that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  • Cliff Feightner

    Please don’t act like a slob
    As you are working your current job
    If your boss you attack
    Don’t try to go back
    As yourself you are going to rob

  • Joel Kessel

    Thanks Dan. Also, from the perspective of the employer (the bridge can burn both ways), we need to adjust and evolve and provide a great experience and learning opportunity for our employees. Especially in today’s business climate no one can expect a younger employee to stick around for a long period of time. Author, Lee Caraher, released her latest book a couple of months ago entitled, The Boomerang Principle. In it she talks about some things we can do if we are experiencing high turnover such as showing appreciation (simply say please and thank you), practicing appreciation (give specific feedback when giving praise), and supporting them in their personal career goals (ask them what they want to achieve professionally then help them get there). These employees are more likely to return as better employees once they’ve left and seen what else is out there.

    • Joel – great point. Creating an attractive culture will make good people miss it if they responded to the “grass is greener.”

  • Trish

    When has unemployment 4.4% – that’s completely wrong. Unless you like to believe the media and the government’s “math”. Really, companies need someone who is older than 30??? Someone who doesn’t write
    code and can actually talk to people – no way!

    • Trish – I detect a little bitterness here. There are areas in the northeast where unemployment is under 3%. Companies are desperate for good people who know what their value is.