The Boomerang Effect

Robert Half study re-hired employees.

The Boomerang Effect

Asia Pacific

According to Robert Half almost two in three (65 per cent) Australian companies have re-hired a former employee who left the organisation voluntarily. With 89 per cent of HR managers saying they find it challenging to source skilled professionals, more than one in four (26 per cent) organisations are open to the idea of employing former staff. Only nine per cent would not consider it.

Reinstating an ex-employee can have mixed results. Among the employers who have experienced the process, 33 per cent say it has been a success while 32 per cent would not do it again (32 per cent). Amid an increasing skills shortage, willingness to hire former employees seem to be on rise with 87 per cent of Australian companies saying they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today compared to three years ago.

Andrew Morris, director at Robert Half Asia Pacific said: "The current labour market is highly competitive for qualified candidates. Given the dynamics of a talent-short market, coupled with skills shortages in key areas, employers are increasingly considering re-hiring former employees – a trend we expect to see continue throughout 2017."

"So-called 'boomerang' employees can bring experience to a company's talent pool as well as an intimate understanding of the business. That said, successfully re-engaging a former employee can call for additional considerations. An employer should revisit the circumstances of their departure to decipher whether they left on good terms, followed by a discussion with the ex-staff member to get a sense of their motivations for returning to their previous workplace," said Andrew Morris.


A successful track record is the main reason for re-hiring a former employee, cited by 56 per cent of HR managers. However, almost half (46 per cent) of employers say they would consider re-hiring an ex-staff member if they possessed skills and expertise that are hard to recruit for. Two out of five (40 per cent) employers point to a reduction in the time and cost of on boarding former employees and 33 per cent refer to a good cultural fit.

Andrew Morris said: "Keeping the door open to departing staff members can provide benefits that can go beyond tapping into the skillset and broadened experience of a former employee. Re-hiring a person who is already familiar with the company and its culture can significantly reduce the costs and time associated with onboarding, and ensure the employee is productive from day one. Losing good people is never easy, but it's not a total loss if there's an opportunity to bring them back later on."



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