‘Boomerangers’: Why North Bay businesses are welcoming back former employees
Employers are holding the door open for certain workers who leave and want to return.
They are called boomerang employees.
LinkedIn reports a 15% increase in boomerang employees from 2019 to 2021, which accounts for tens of thousands of people returning to a previous employer. The online professional network site said the phenomenon is happening in all industries across the country.
A recent global survey by the international company Robert Walters North America, which has an office in San Francisco, found 95% of managers would consider rehiring an employee, while 79% of employees would consider returning to their pre-COVID-19 employer.
“Many of the talent that moved during COVID and saw significant increases in pay now are seeing their old employer leveling up and able to compete with where they are now, so we see people are considering a return,” Peter Milne, managing director for the firm, told the Business Journal.
Simply Solar in Petaluma is one of those companies amenable to bringing back the right employee.
“My estimate would be we find that about 10% of the people who leave will come back in 12 months if they are the type of people we would keep,” Chief Financial Officer Cliff Johnson said. The company has 177 employees. “The other thing is once a boomerang employee comes back, historically they are locked in for a long time. Not by any contract, but it garners a massive amount of loyalty.”
Those boomerangers follow the solar company’s policies, fit into the culture, produce high-quality work, and are all-around good employees.
Johnson said the solar industry is competitive, so it’s easy for those working in the field to find another job. The problem, he said, is those people sometimes discover “the grass isn’t always greener” and on occasion ask Simply Solar to bring them back.
Turnover overall, though, is low at Simply Solar, especially with office, sales and project managers, he said.
In 2021 and 2022, Simply Solar had two boomerang employees in each of those years, whereas in the first half of this year there have been three, Johnson said.
Ready to rehire
When someone leaves Side by Side in San Anselmo, they tend to do so for growth — be it professional or financial, according to human resources director Tiffany Vigil.
The nonprofit provides children, young adults and family members behavioral and mental health support in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Alameda counties. It has 105 employees.
“It’s really quality employees that have returned. We average about one a year, though this year we’ve had two so far, so I’m not sure if we’ll keep seeing an increase,” Vigil told the Journal.
Most who return work directly with the youth. Often they are gone three to four years before returning to Side by Side.
“I think these are typically stable employees, not ones who are jumping around,” Vigil said. “When they return they tend to stay for many years.”
Not only are people asking to come back, sometimes Side by Side will let certain former workers know about an opening in hopes they’d consider returning.
Vigil admits not everyone would be rehired. Those who weren’t high performers or left abruptly are not likely to be welcomed back.
On average one or two employees return each year to Eagle Vines Vineyard & Golf Club in American Canyon.
Tawny Miranda, HR manager, said mostly it is servers who leave and come back. She said the company is fortunate to have good retention.
“The majority of our employees are welcome to come back,” she said, adding it’s rare for someone to leave on bad terms.
During her interview nearly two years ago for the position of human resources manager at Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, better known as QKA, Monica Flores asked if the company would rehire an employee. Yes, was the answer, with the person doing the interview a boomerang employee.