What’s a boomerang employee?

Boomeranging. Frequent new beginnings. As an employee, the relationship with our employer is now very different. We don’t necessarily expect a job for life. And when we leave a company, there’s every chance we could return at some point. We may become a boomerang employee.

Anecdotal evidence abounds. Personally, I have worked twice for the same telecommunications company. I used to joke that, ‘There won’t be a third’. But it was a joke. I left the company twice to create new beginnings. If the opportunity arose again, I would embrace it. Even today in our RiseSmart Australia office, we currently have two boomerang employees return to help run a large project. Welcomed with open arms, their deep knowledge and existing relationship within our organisation means they’ve hit the ground running.

The new employee relationship economy

In the recently published RiseSmart whitepaper: The Employee Relationship Economy, we read that the new employee relationship transcends the norms and boundaries of a bygone era. The relationship is no longer finite – with the help of social media, it’s easy to stay in touch and be part of the on-going talent pool. A ‘boomerang’ employee re-enters an organisation, based on choice not circumstance.

This does depend on whether the employee leaves the organisation embittered and disillusioned, or alternatively, departs as a brand ambassador, embracing a new beginning, supported by expert career transition advice. Boomerang employees* are increasingly a viable talent pool, but it does rely on organisations building trust at all stages of the career life cycle – especially through redundancy and outplacement.

Boomerang employees have:

  • A deep knowledge of the organisational culture, which has become increasingly important as employers attempt to differentiate themselves from their competition through the establishment of a unique and engaging workplace culture.
  • Training and experience in the fundamental skills that represent the company’s core competencies.
  • Insider ability to navigate trouble spots in the organisation.

Create a social contract

As a career transition services provider, RiseSmart supports this new social contract between employer and employee. Our expertise is to provide the workforce tool and avenues for continual beginnings. Our transition coaches provide advice and guidance to help each employee repurpose their skills and polish their personal brand. We see a trend of progressive organisations providing this service upstream – well before ‘the axe falls’ with the only option being a forced redundancy.

In Australia, the boomerang is an icon – a well-known weapon traditionally used by Indigenous Australians for hunting. So here’s the challenge – as business leaders, are your boomerang employees an icon for your company? Do they leave as brand ambassadors, armed for new beginnings and willing to return if the opportunity arises?

Download the RiseSmart whitepaper: The Employee Relationship Economy.

Contact RiseSmart Australia, New Zealand or Singapore. We would love to talk with you further.

*Note that there are taxation laws and company laws that may affect re-hiring an employee within a certain period, to ensure that redundancies are genuine.

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