Skip to main content

Business should embrace 'boomerang employees'

Image result for Lebron James miami cleveland
Source:  themajors.net

What should you do when an employee leaves. . . and later asks to return?

It may be an emotional instinct to react by rejecting their request to return.

But why?  If you take it as a personal rejection when an employee leaves, you may be cutting off your own nose to spite your own face.

As these studies from the University of Illinois point out employees leaving then asking to return may just be offering you a big compliment to the way you do things.  Perhaps they thought they'd be better off elsewhere only to find they were well off where they started.  Not a bad message for other employees to hear if nothing else.

Boomerang Employees  
Organizations of all types are beginning to recognize and embrace the value of recruiting and welcoming back former or boomerang employees. From infantry soldiers to chief executives, accountants and professional basketball players, many organizations proactively recruit and rehire former employees as a way to offset high turnover costs the cost and risk of integrating new employees.  A boomerang employee knows your system and probably will only need a little refresher training.

The return of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers may have riveted the sports world and social media, but the phenomenon of "going home," whether to a geographic location or a former job, is not unique to professional athletes.

According to two studies co-written by a University of Illinois expert in organizational behavior and human resources management, organizations of all types are beginning to recognize and embrace the value of recruiting and welcoming back former employees.

Ideally, these so-called "boomerang employees" already understand the key components of the organization's work structure and culture, which makes them less risky hires than newcomers, says T. Brad Harris, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

"In addition to understanding the organizational culture, returning employees might also be more committed to the focal organization upon their return because, in essence, they've learned firsthand that the grass isn't always greener on the other side," Harris said.

In a paper published in Personnel Psychology, Harris and his co-authors -- Stacie Furst-Holloway of the University of Cincinnati, Benson Rosen of the University of North Carolina, and Abbie J. Shipp of Texas Christian University -- found that the experiences encountered by boomerang employees were distinct in a number of ways.

"After surveying and interviewing hundreds of employees, we were able to see that boomerang employees were more likely to originally leave an organization not because of dissatisfaction with the job, but because of some personal shock, such as a pregnancy, spousal relocation or an unexpected job offer," Harris said. "Somewhat unexpectedly, we also found that boomerang employees, compared to non-boomerang employees, typically had shorter original tenures with the focal organizations."

In a recent working paper, Harris and another set of co-researchers studied a sample of boomerang employees in the National Basketball Association.

The research found that re-employment performance was significantly predicted by the harmony of the original tenure, and their success during the time spent away from the focal organization and conditions of the return.

"Our latest research suggests that organizations should realize that not all boomerangs are created equal," Harris said. "When evaluating potential boomerang hires, organizations should first, and most obviously,

  1. consider their previous performance histories at the focal organization and at their most recent employer.  "Second, organizations should 
  2. be mindful that employees who originally left on good terms and of their own volition might be better suited for a return than those who left more acrimoniously. And finally, 
  3. employees who are not gone for very long might possess more of the desirable attributes such as accurately recalling the organizational culture and understanding the social norms expected in it."

Past Performance Predicts Future Performance
Harris and his co-authors would not commit to specific predictions about James' return to Cleveland, noting that their statistical findings would be best applied to large groups rather than individual cases. However, one of the study's co-authors, Brian Swider of Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business, said James' performance has always been exceptional, "which fits with our 'past performance predicts future performance' arguments."

"Although LeBron's original decision to voluntarily leave Cleveland was much derided, the fact that it was clearly of his own volition might work to Cleveland's favor," Swider said. "But our model doesn't exactly account for the extreme vitriol displayed by Cleveland fans or even the owner, which makes this case particularly interesting. Although many Heat fans probably wish LeBron's tenure in Miami was longer, the brevity of his stay on South Beach should have Cavalier fans smiling."

Story Source:   Materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Business should embrace 'boomerang employees'." ScienceDaily. 14 July 2014

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Facts of the Small Business Survival Rate

Back thirty years ago when I first wrote about small business, a hoary and horrible statistic was bandied about, even by some of the most experienced entrepreneurial pros: "80% of new businesses fail in their first five years." 

This "statistic" has appeared in more places than you can imagine, from the leading small business magazines, books, presentations by employees of SBDCs, the SBA, SCORE, Chambers of Commerce, even professors on the college level - who should know better than to quote un-sourced numbers.  It still shows up in small-business blogs today.

For some years, I searched for a source of that statisitic.  Never found where that number came from, leading me to believe that some self-appointed expert made it up.  To quote a character from the popular television show, M*A*S*H, "Horsepucky." 

Here is the truth about the survival rate of new start up businesses in the U.S. economy from two unimpeachable sources, The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundati…

Earn a Living Shining Shoes. . . Really

Earning a Living as a Bootblack
Can someone make a living shining shoes in today's economy?  At on time there shoe shine boys as they were called were found on street corners across the country, thousands of them.  Many were from poor families and worked to help support themselves and their families.  Today, I found three established shoe shine stands in downtown Seattle, plus two bootblacks, the traditional name of those who shine shoes, working on the streets of Seattle.

Meet George Johnson, age 74 on October 20th, a self-employed operator of a shoe shine stand in downtown Seattle's Rainier Place.  George has been shining shoes for the last sixty years, starting in Arkansas and ending up some thirty years ago at the Washington Athletic club a few blocks from his current location.
"Sixty years," I asked him the day we met.  "You ever think of retiring?"

"Gonna work until I can't do it no more," he replied.  "I don't even think about i…

Illegal Immigrants Start Legal L.L.C.'s, Create Jobs While Awaiting Deportation

The situation is a little like a story from the Twilight Zone.

Illegal immigrants can't get driving licenses, vote, or get benefits, but they are legally able to start Limited Liability Companies often creating jobs for legal U.S. Citizens.  All the while waiting to find out if they are going to be deported because they are, admittedly in most cases, in this country illegally.

It's long established that new immigrants to the U.S. are far more likely to start a business, and in so doing, create jobs often filled by U.S. citizens.  I mean, the sun rises in the East, the sky is blue, and immigrants create jobs - it's that level of certainty.

So why do certain elements in Congress,  allegedly pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-job, scream and yell about immigration as though it's a total drain on the economy?  If anything, immigration has been and will continue to be a boon to our economy, creating both wealth, new jobs and even new industries.

Here's an article from the L…