Julie Rupenski

It’s an official record!  During the Great Resignation, 47.4 million American workers quit their jobs voluntarily. However, according to  Fox News, more than 70% of those who resigned now regret quitting their jobs. 

That means seven out of ten workers who thought they were leaving for greener pastures ended up being disappointed by their new role and/or the new company they joined. They feel a sense of buyer’s remorse. Greener pastures weren’t so green after all. 

The result? We’re seeing a rise in “boomerang employees!” Boomerang employees, also dubbed the “comeback kids”, are those employees who left their employers and their positions voluntarily only to return to them. 

Should you rehire a former employee if they left on good terms and you need to fill a key role? For those of us in the senior living industry, that’s an easy answer… yes! Boomerang employees represent one of our most promising talent pools, especially since talent in our industry is at a premium.

Other reasons boomerang employees are good for your senior living organization: 

  • Known Quantity.  As former employees, you already know what to expect from them, especially when it comes to work ethic, job performance and culture fit.
  • Positive Impact on Bottom Line. Rehired employees can start adding value to your bottom line in much less time than brand-new employees. They’re already trained and understand the high standards of care and service you expect.
  • Bring New Skills. Former employees may have gained valuable experience and skills during the time they were gone. It’s highly likely that they received training to be successful in their new positions. Therefore, these additional skills can ultimately benefit your organization. Basically, you gain an employee who needs minimal training but brings extra skills.
  • Greater Dedication & Commitment. If a former employee requests their job back, they are likely to return with more dedication and commitment than before. They will value aspects of your organization that they previously didn’t appreciate or notice.
  • Serve as Interim Solution. Depending on their current situation, a former employee could serve as an Interim during your search for a permanent hire.
  • Cost-Effective. It may come down to simple math. According to Glassdoor, the entire hiring process for a boomerang employee can be cut up to 50% compared to other unknown candidates.

What can your organization do to encourage boomerang employees to come back? It begins with creating a culture and environment that former workers want to return to.  Today’s workers seek flexibility and balance in work and life. 

Here are several other suggestions on how to encourage boomerang employees to come back to your organization:

Ask the right questions during the exit interview

  • 75% of organizations conduct exit interviews when an employee departs.
  • During the exit interview, ask pointed questions such as, “Would you work for this organization again in the future? If so, what would you change about the role?”
  • Let your departing employee know that you would like to keep in touch and that the door is open for future possibilities.  Contact them within 60 days after departure.  By then, they’ll have a different perspective about their new position and may have regrets about accepting it. 

2. Create an alumni network

  • Compile the names and contact information of those who left your organization on good terms.
  • Create an “alumni network” with its own communication strategy and channel.
  • Start your own LinkedIn group for alumni — this is a great way to stay in touch and communicate often. Also, consider emailing a company newsletter or sending a text on a regular basis. Your goal by communicating often is to stay top of mind.

3. Invite former employees to company events

  • If you’re hosting a company event, consider extending the invitation to former employees.
  • Ask some of their former team members to encourage them to attend.

Not rehiring former employees who left on good terms could be a missed business opportunity. Many of your former senior care employees could be ready to boomerang back into their old roles or take on new challenges.

Julie Rupenski is the Founder & CEO of MedBest Recruiting. Since opening its doors in 2001, Julie has grown MedBest into an award-winning, multimillion-dollar national firm, garnering impressive awards, including INC 5000 2021 and Tampa Bay Fast 50 2021.  This year, Julie was named as one of the “Top 100 Women Leaders in Tampa 2022″ by Women We Admire.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.