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Historically, employees who quit a job to work for a competitor company were no longer welcome to return to the original employer. A simple Google search of the term “boomerang employee” will quickly reveal that forward thinking companies, adapting to a still slowly recovering economy, are bucking traditional ideas of employer loyalty by re-hiring former employees.

The definition of a boomerang employee is simple: it is when an employee quits a job (for better pay, to go back to school, to have a family) and then is re-hired by that employer at a later date.

Boomerang employees can provide excellent benefits to employers. These are people who already know the culture of the employer and probably the basic operating structure of the business.  Early research shows boomerang employees are often happier than non-boomerang employees because they learned the “grass isn’t greener” at a different employer.

Employees should take care not to burn any bridges when leaving a job in the event they may want to return someday. On the flip side, employers should “leave the door open” to possible boomerang employees by conducting exit interviews to provide information about future accommodations such as telecommuting. Employers are assisted by technology in re-hiring employees because programs like LinkdedIn allow for easy communication after an employee has left.

However, there can be risks in hiring boomerang employees. For example, an employee who did not leave on good terms may create resentment among other employees when returning.

High profile boomerang employees like LeBron James have highlighted what is likely to be an important employment trend in the future. Stay tuned as we follow this issue.

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