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Rethinking the Boomerang Employee

The workforce is changing. While that may be the understatement of the year, it’s important for hiring managers to take that notion to heart. Flexibility and fluidity are now the name of the game. People want hybrid work arrangements. They want gig work.

Published Thu Oct 28 2021

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The workforce is changing. While that may be the understatement of the year, it’s important for hiring managers to take that notion to heart. Flexibility and fluidity are now the name of the game. People want hybrid work arrangements. They want gig work. They want to work when and where they want. They may even want to leave and come back. These so-called “boomerang employees” are a bit of a hot-button item. Usually, when an employee leaves—even under the best circumstances—they aren’t welcome back with open arms should they decide to return. But maybe it’s time to rethink that notion. “Boomerang employment has really increased over the last decade,” said Anthony Klotz, associate professor of management at Texas A&M University. “Right now, there’s a lot of employees quitting their jobs because they want to explore other areas of their life, other professions, whatever it may be, who knows how they’ll feel in two years.” And who knows what the labor market might look like. Instead of holding grudges, it might make sense to keep yourself open for the possibility that a departing employee might seek to return. If they’re the best person for the job, you might want to consider letting them.

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