“If life is about anything, it is about change”- Libertina Amathila
As we get older, our priorities often change. Incredible employees leave the workforce for a myriad of reasons.
Jennifer wants to be a stay at home parent.
Tom is a little burnt out and wants to just volunteer for the PeaceCorps.
Jeff’s wife has a great opportunity that requires them to move and they decide to prioritize her career over his.
Adam’s father is incredibly sick and becoming a caretaker is his priority
Whatever the reason, these hard-working, smart people leave the workforce and now many years later want to come back. These are called boomerang employees and your company may see incredible results from hiring someone like this.
Why Should You Hire A Boomerang?
Unemployment is at an all-time low. Although there are economic uncertainties on the horizon, job creation and growth have been consistently strong across the US. With so many new jobs, businesses want people who can ramp up quickly, think critically and have a strong work ethic. These are often defining traits of a boomerang employee.
One of my friends is an experienced martial arts instructor. He teaches Judo. Although it seems somewhat counter-intuitive he has told me that he would rather have someone with zero martial arts experience than someone with a black belt in another style. The reason- he can teach them exactly how he wants things done without having to break bad habits.
I have had many people in hiring positions tell me over the years that they want “good raw material”. Someone that is smart, strong character and a good work ethic can be taught almost anything. You can’t teach values and character. Who would you rather have- someone who is character driven, smart, loyal and hard working with no experience in your industry or someone who is incredibly experienced but doesn’t have the same personality traits?
Boomerangs often fall in the first category.
In order for a Boomerang to return and effectively reintegrate into a career, three things must be done. (These are good practices for any company to have, regardless if they are looking at boomerang employment or not.) These include: your company must have great training & SOPs, must foster a Workplace Culture supportive of returning employees and must have open and clear communication.
Training and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
There is something called the Amazon expectation. People expect things to be delivered overnight. No matter what line of work you are in, your company is now compared to Amazon. This isn’t held to just delivery times. Digital communication has sped up customer expectations in almost every job field. The pace and tempo of the work cycle is incredibly fast in most industries. And often the downside of this trend comes in training and on boarding. It amazes me that so many people skimp on these areas. I understand why- got to get them doing the job, but this training is critical to mission success. Protocols, procedures and preferences must be standardized and communicated to new hires. Boomerangs are sharp and pick things up quickly, however, it has been a while since they have been in the workforce so there may be a lag technically that will need to be trained away. A digital native that had every app growing up may be more comfortable with your company’s online job portal than someone who used to use a time card to punch in. As an example, no matter how much I practice, I can’t type as fast as my son who grew up with a laptop. However, my experience means that what I am typing is probably much higher quality. At least I hope that it is.
When training, remember it’s not just the details of the job. You also want to share your vision, the company goals, the mission. You want an employee to know the why behind the what.
Workplace Culture supportive of returning employees
Let’s look at the environment to teach us about the office. There is something called biodiversity. Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play. Greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms from immunology, pollination and other factors.
There are also numerous benefits when a workplace has diversity and inclusion. People have different perspectives, values and experienced and when you have an environment that promotes this, you get the full benefit of all. It is not only good internally, but for the social lens many companies are viewed through it is also beneficial. Foster an environment that is truly diverse. (I love when companies have mentoring and even reverse mentoring programs in place).
Open and Clear Communication
You may have heard or even said yourself, “I have an open-door policy”- meaning anyone can come talk to you about a work issue. This is a relatively new thing. Look at the face of an older employee when a kid right out of college walks into the VP of the company and asks a question. It just wasn’t how things were often done until the last 5 years or so. If this is how open you want your communication channels to be, then you need to express and validate that to boomerang employees. Open communication, questions, mindshare are all good things that benefit many.
One of the biggest benefits to boomerangs is that they are often higher in critical thinking skills and problem solving and will try to solve problems on their own before escalating them. This has both advantages and disadvantages. While we want to empower every employee to solve problems, we also don’t want them to waste time reinventing the wheel if an answer is clear to someone else. Purposeful team, department and staff meetings are crucial to the success of most companies.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Boomerangs can add tremendous value to your organization. If you have great training & SOPs in place, if you foster a Workplace Culture supportive of returning employees and if you have open and clear communications in your business, then you are in a fantastic position to win in the war for talent. If you do not have these elements in place in your company, then you are missing out on an incredibly talented labor pool that can help your business win, worst yet, your competition may be hiring these talented employees. At HH Staffing, we have been in the staffing business for over 31 years. We know good employees and great ones. Give us a call today so we can help you recruit boomerangs to your team today!
Until Next Time,
Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO and Chief Servant
Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.