In today’s fragmented, digitized workforce, knowing your colleagues solely as talking heads on video calls is an unfortunate, but widespread, reality. In addition to the challenges of a dispersed workforce, employers are confronted by the Great Resignation. With record numbers of employees resigning from their roles, propelled by the pandemic, employers are seeing fewer familiar faces and more backs of heads as talent departs.
There is some positive news when it comes to retention, however. Those employees you last saw during their exit interviews? According to current employment trends, you might just hear from them again. Why? Due to the growing number of boomerang employees.
What are boomerang employees?
Just like how a boomerang comes back when thrown, a boomerang employee is one who returns to their former place of employment.
The boomerang employee phenomenon has gained momentum in recent times. The truth is, with the Great Resignation, there are simply not that many skilled people looking for work that are a direct fit for a role you have open.
There are many advantages to boomerang employees.
Here at Achievers, we are no strangers to familiar faces returning.
We reached out to three of our “boomerangers” about their experiences, and they came back to us with some compelling insights HR personnel may wish to know.
If you have left your old employer and are now realizing the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the competition’s cubicle, there is no shame in coming back – and a lot to gain.
Achievers boomerang employee insights
We spoke to three A-players (as Achievers employees are affectionately dubbed) all originally based out of our Toronto, Canada HQ. Laura Keddy, Contracts Manager in our Legal Department, Yola Lis, Senior Implementation Manager, in Professional Services, and Kristian Gaetano, Chief Operating Officer. Yola is now working in our Vancouver office which she would not have considered as an option prior to working remotely.
Besides sharing a passion about returning to Achievers, these three employees all worked at Achievers for three years before exiting — and returning.
Two of the three boomerang employees we spoke to continued to work in the same department in the same or similar role. Kristian however, leveraged his wealth of experience as an original employee of I Love Rewards, which Achievers was originally. Yola since her relocation to British Columbia has found a new passion in horseback riding and spends her my weekends and free time enjoying the outdoors, from hiking, skiing to paddle boarding.
“I did a lot of research about Achievers”
Laura, who began her career in pharmaceuticals and finance, was no stranger to methodic research. She cites doing “a lot of research to figure out what Achievers was and especially online platforms, generally.”
Yola continues, “I was referred to the organization by a close friend who was already working on the Professional Services team. They thought I would be a good fit for the role, as well as the team and organizational culture, which turned out to be true!”
As for Kristian, he had a friend who worked at Achievers who referred him to the role through he Rockstar Referral program.
What they liked about the job
Laura says, “It was quite adventurous! Back then our main focus was on signing key logos to grow the Achievers brand and make it the forerunner in our space – all while trying to start building the infrastructure we needed to support the business. I like a lot of variety, so I was able to learn about different aspects of the business which kept me on my toes.
What I like most about my job is working closely with customers to solve problems/find solutions to meet their business needs, and essentially collaborate with them to bring their program to life. We have goals and milestones that we set out together and being a key member of the team that helps customers accomplish those goals is very rewarding. I’m a project manager at heart so I also thoroughly enjoy coordinating various stakeholders – on both the Achievers and customer side – and find it very fulfilling to see it all come together!”
What prompted her to leave? Laura says to expand her abilities. She enjoys “legal things” but also other more analytical and numbers-oriented work, so she transitioned in to a Rev Ops role that allowed her to focus on a lot of reporting and process building.
For Yola, it was simply curiousity about what other opportunities were available to her at a larger organization and to explore new skill sets to develop in that environment. Another factor in her departure was linked to an increase in compensation.
“I was excited to begin a new role, until COVID.”
The pandemic certainly had an effect on our boomerang employees initial departure. As Laura said, “When I decided to leave Achievers, Covid was still in its early stages, so I was very excited to begin a new role in downtown Toronto as well as continue to build my professional network at a new organization. Unfortunately, the Covid lockdown was implemented shortly after starting at the new role, so I never actually physically made it into the office and my networking opportunities were limited. As you can imagine, being a social person, this impacted morale and made onboarding quite challenging as I learn better in person, through conversation, and by interacting with my teammates.
With that being said, I still excelled in the role but learned quickly that the role’s responsibilities were advertised a bit differently during the interview process versus what was expected of me in my day to day. I was expected to have a much higher level of technical acumen than I had anticipated (or had experience with), which on one hand became a challenge that I overcame and was able to develop new skills, on the other hand was an area of my role that I was not interested in pursuing to that level. Lastly, even over Zoom I was able to quickly identify that the corporate culture at this new organization was not the best fit for my personality and what I value on the day to day, reminding me that Achievers’ did a great job engaging its employees to get involved outside of their day to day roles and encouraged employees to get to know one another outside of their professional responsibilities – this was not the case at my new organization and was something I realized was very important to me and that I was missing.”
Yola echoes these sentiments by saying, “I had never found another company where I felt as connected to the mission and was as passionate about the product and services we offered. “
It all comes down to a sense of belonging
Laura explains, “although it can be stressful trying to get everything done, everyone is always kind, considerate and respectful towards each other. What’s great to see is that everyone from new hires to senior management is accessible and works as a team.”
Yola also expanded on this culture of belonging, saying she has felt “a deep sense of connection and belonging to my Professional Services team. The level of professionalism and accountability that exists, balanced with an ability to maintain friendships and connect on a level that resides outside of our day to day work responsibilities is a hard balance to strike, but when it clicks it makes coming in to work every day very enjoyable and a lot more fun!”
Kristian also referenced belonging, saying that “belonging is massively important to me and I’ve always appreciated that Achievers is an environment where I can be myself. Also, we have a culture of growth and Achievement, but we also operate through kindness which is not only a differentiator in terms of how we work together internally, but it’s also felt by our customers and prospects which has enabled us to be so successful.
What inspires boomerangers to stay?
Laura says that Achievers is inventive and adapts to the times. “Sure, there’s a lot that is similar compared to when I was first here, but there’s also been a lot of growth both operationally and with the product. Almost everyone I connect with is invested in what they do and forward thinking.
For Yola, “It’s really the confidence I have in our teams who are helping us drive towards and achieve our mission. I feel like we’re at a very exciting time in our growth with limitless opportunity an possibility.
Reaping Recognition Rewards
Our boomerangers also agreed on using the Achievers recognition platform to shout-out colleagues, trying as often as they can; at least a couple of times a week.
Kristian leverages the platform daily not only to recognize but to keep a pulse on all of the great things that are happening across all teams globally.
Our three A-players all cited a sense of belonging as critical to their retention.
Care to learn more about how culture can amp up your boomerang path? Download the Achievers Workforce Institute’s 2022 Report on Retention.