Boomerang staff are those who are keen to join back after quitting and working elsewhere for a while or a short duration. The trends indicate that such employees return because they find the ‘grass isn’t greener on the other side’ and also because of familiar conditions which makes life simpler and easier to adjust in their ‘home’ organization.
While the stigma of leaving and coming back always hangs over their heads, organizations prefer known entities than unknown ones. It is often easier to get started, train and engage these employees due to their past knowledge and experience. Understanding the culture also works to their benefit.
However, connecting boomerangs through communication is also important for organizations. How do you integrate them? How can you leverage their knowledge? What can be done to re-engage this audience? Here are some perspectives to consider.
- Knowing the context: The goal must be to have a strong system to track their motivation to return and tap into the insights to better their experiences. Understanding this will mean investing in online and face to face mechanisms that delve into their mindsets now and before. Leaders and managers must be briefed and educated on what and how they must communicate to help these returnees integrate faster.
- Keeping the connection: While they were away, a lot may have taken place at the organization. Their teams may have dissolved, their workspaces changed, their work evolved and the expectations of delivering results enhanced. Helping them reconnect to the new reality at the workplace is crucial. The role of internal communicators is to empower managers who get boomerangs on their teams to understand how best to communicate and engage.
- Involve to re-engage: The best way to re-engage is to involve boomerang staff to be mentors for other returnees. They can aid in improving handovers, drive process improvements, provide workplace insights, gather feedback, educate other team members and more. As an internal communicator, you can inspire many others to reconsider the workplace through storytelling. Share the reasons for returning and how they ‘feel’ coming back to the workplace.
- Sensitivity and care: While communicating, the internal communicator must be aware of what it means to reinvite the boomerangs into the workplace. What and how we communicate matters to make them feel welcomed again. There is bound to be hesitancy and also the fear that they may leave again. The stigma of joining back and also that their return will mean current staff may feel uncomfortable about salaries or their job security are pointers to keep in mind.
If you plan to create a story of a returning boomerang, here are potential questions you can ask. Focus on what made them return and why they found the workplace better.
- How does it feel returning to the company?
- What made you return to the company?
- What did you miss while away from the company?
- What advice do you have for others who may want to consider coming back?
- What makes the company an enriching workplace?
Boomerangs are a growing and valuable of employees to tap as companies vie for talent in a tough market. Therefore, keeping this audience in mind while communicating is relevant to enhance engagement and connection.
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