Want to Find Top Talent? Hire Boomerangs

Posted by Robin Erickson on August 8, 2018.

Employee turnover is on the rise. Last year, the voluntary turnover rate in the U.S. was 13.5 percent, compared to just 9.1 percent five years before.1 Moreover, turnover is likely to continue to rise: The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey found that 43 percent of 10,000 Millennial respondents and 61 percent of 1,800 Generation-Z respondents expect to leave their current employers within two years.2

Higher turnover means higher talent acquisition (TA) costs. But there is a silver lining in this dark cloud: savvy TA teams can control costs and find high-quality candidates by tapping an overlooked talent pool—boomerangs, or former employees who are interested in returning to the fold.

Boomerangs Are Typically Low-Risk, High-Quality Employees

There’s been little hard research on boomerangs, but rehiring former employees seems to offer many valuable benefits, including:

  • Reduced cost per hire. There may be less initial vetting needed with boomerangs, which can result in lower internal staff compensation per hire. Plus, recruiter fees can often be eliminated.
  • Lower risk of a bad hire. Perhaps the greatest benefit of hiring boomerangs is that they are a known quantity. This can lower the risk of a bad hire—one of the costly situations in TA.
  • Faster onboarding and ramp-up. Boomerangs already know your organization, so the onboarding process can often be compressed. They also know your company’s structure and culture (and may still have an established internal network), so their ramp-up time may be shorter, too.
  • Ameliorated L&D costs. Chances are good that your company has already invested in the development of these employees, so welcoming them back can recapture that investment. Plus, boomerangs can return with valuable knowledge and skills that they picked up in other companies.

How can you find and recruit boomerangs? I suggest five ideas in my new article, Hiring Boomerangs: An Efficient Way to Source Top Talent. As tight talent markets and high voluntary turnover rates become the reality in more and more industries, I hope you’ll find this information useful. Companies that act now—by recognizing boomerangs as a neglected talent pool and proactively seeking to access it—can find a valuable source for new hires.

Bersin members can download and read the full article, Hiring Boomerangs: An Efficient Way to Source Top Talent. Not a Bersin member but want to know more? Visit the Bersin website.

If your organization is working on new talent acquisition initiatives and you’d like to be interviewed as part of our research, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out via email at rerickson@deloitte.com.

Robin EricksonRobin Erickson, Vice President, Talent Acquisition Research Leader / Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP Robin leads talent acquisition, engagement, and retention research for Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Recognized as a thought leader in her areas of expertise, Robin offers more than 20 years of experience, including prior experience in talent strategies consulting and research for Deloitte’s Human Capital practice. Robin led Deloitte’s global Talent 2020 longitudinal survey series and her work has appeared in several issues of Deloitte Review and in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends reports. She holds a doctoral degree in organizational communication and change, as well as a master’s in communication, from Northwestern University. Robin also has a master’s degree in theology from Northern Seminary and a bachelor of arts from the University of Chicago.

1 “Turnover Report 2017” CompData Surveys & Consulting, 2017, https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/690463/2017_Turnover_Report.pdf.

2 The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey: Millennials disappointed in business, unprepared for Industry 4.0, Deloitte Touche Tohamatsu Limited, May 2018, https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennialsurvey.html.

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