How To Turn The Great Resignation Into The Great Rebound
The past few years of rapid change have forced people to adapt in new and interesting ways—especially at work. For some, it means getting used to working on video calls, trying to professionalize their home offices, or wondering how to keep their families happy. For others, the stress of today's cost of living is wreaking havoc on their finances and sense of security. All in all, it's no wonder employees are behaving in some unusual ways. “Boomeranging” is one such behavior that has emerged.
Today's workforce has been scrambling to meet the rapidly shifting demands of both work and off-duty life. As part of that scramble, a boomerang employee leaves a company but later finds their way back and is re-hired. Some leave because they're experiencing burnout or need a change of pace or job description, while others are trying to answer a burning question in their field and believe the answer lies elsewhere. Whatever the reason for the exit, boomerang employees stay open to new opportunities post-resignation, even with their former employer.
This trend provides a new outlook on the Great Resignation. While employers might, understandably, feel concerned about churning employees, the Great Resignation is by no means the end of the story. Chapter 2 might just be the Great Rebound as former colleagues return to the fold, and declining revenues start to resurge in the hands of wise experts.
How Can Leaders Make Their Organization Attractive To Boomerang Employees?
The Great Resignation might not spell disaster for companies. However, the boomerang trend means that employers must still consider why employees are leaving, what they need, and why they would consider returning.
Here are some strategies to enhance the ability and inclination of past employees to return to your company:
1. Normalize resignations.
According to Bryan Adams, CEO of Ph.Creative, happier and more successful companies might be the ones to make resigning OK. “Instead of trying to hold on to people, reconsider that approach and stop making resignations taboo.”
It's a fact of life that not every job transition will work out. Other companies might not offer the rosy work life promised at the interview, and resigners' remorse is real. By shedding the stigma of resignation, you open the door for talented, ambitious employees to rejoin your team.
Adams says, “With this methodology, you'll get the possibility of more boomerang employees flocking to your door because they realized the grass wasn't greener elsewhere. You may also see your employer brand sentiment start to rise on social media.” Either way, appreciating everyone, including your alumni, will be tremendously beneficial for your business down the line.
2. Create a culture of belonging.
While employees return to previous places of work for all kinds of reasons, some qualities are more compelling than others. Belonging is one of the most important. If a person feels like they belong in a team and a workplace, they will be more attracted to that job. This is especially true when they compare it to a new job that doesn’t offer a warm welcome or appreciative managers.
A culture of belonging is slightly different when considering boomerang employees. It's not enough to create a welcoming culture for existing employees; the work environment must also extend open arms to returning employees. That means no shunning, and in fact, no judgement at all. It should be easy and exciting to reengage in the team, and ideally, this warm welcome should be self-evident—an employee shouldn't feel like they're taking a big risk in returning to the team they left.
3. Ace the exit interview.
Given the two above points, how an employee leaves a company is a decisive moment. It provides an unmatched opportunity to “get real” with them and find out how valuable information about how they really feel about the company, their job description, their team, and the culture of the workplace.
Many companies throw away the exit interview or don't have one at all. This means leadership is left in the dark as to what factors might have a real impact on motivating and retaining top talent. Spending time designing the exit interview can help you capture as much helpful insight as possible.
The exit interview is also an opportunity to plant some seeds for the future. Show interest in the employee's future plans and their goals, and start expressing how you might be able to fulfill those needs as a company. Finally, take a moment to remind the employee that even though they're leaving, you’re grateful for their accomplishments, and the door is very much open for future collaboration.
4. Establish an alumni program.
What better way to show employees they're always welcome than making it official with an alumni program? Just because they no longer work with you every day, that doesn't mean you're not invested in their career.
An alumni program can bring teams together and create a friendly space where people can belong (perhaps even feeling a sense of pride for being associated with your brand) and celebrate their ties to your company, no matter where they are in their job journey. Considering that only 12% of former employees feel like they're a part of an alumni network, there's a big opportunity here to make folks feel like they're a part of something.
How could you extend a hand to former employees? How could you keep in touch about company news while supporting their onward career? The chaos of employee turnover could bring us to a new levels of stability and effectiveness—especially when a colleague returns to the fold with a whole new perspective after a hanging out with the competition.
Patty Block, President and Founder of The Block Group, established her company to advocate for women-owned businesses, helping them position their companies for strategic growth. From improving cash flow…. to increasing staff productivity…. to scaling for growth, these periods of transition — and so many more — provide both challenges and opportunities. Managed effectively, change can become a productive force for growth. The Block Group harnesses that potential, turning roadblocks into building blocks for women-owned businesses.