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Boomerang employees: Why this woman returned to her old employer

Revolving door with people walking through it
There are many reasons boomerang employees choose to return their former workplaces.(Source: Getty)

Customer service manager Cath Smyth is one of many workers who has decided to return to a workplace after quitting.

Known as a boomerang employee, it’s something recruitment and HR experts have been seeing a lot of recently as workers continue to hop between jobs post-COVID.

For Smyth, the decision to return to her old employer was all about the people and culture.

“I was constantly searching for the same culture and the same sort of people, but I was never able to find it,” Smyth said.

She originally left the company in her mid-20s to pursue a more sales-based role.

She eventually found herself in a “really high-paying” business-development role, complete with “all the bells and whistles”, such as a company car.

“It's by far the most amount of money I have made in my life, but I wasn't happy,” she said.

When she saw an open role at her old company, she decided to contact her former manager.

Her old manager was pleased to have someone back who knew the product already. After an informal interview, Smyth ended up back at the company after a five-year break in a hybrid role that would work for both her and the company.

She said she was quizzed extensively about why she left and why she wanted to come back. Her employer was clearly keen to work through any hesitation about having her back.

In response, Smyth was “brutally honest” about her reasons for returning.

“I missed the environment. I had searched and searched and searched for it, and I cannot find that anywhere else,” Smyth said.

“So I said, ‘if you let me back in, I'll pour everything I can into this company’.”

Smyth also said her employer immediately recognised a shift in her maturity and overall happiness when she re-applied, which made them feel comfortable welcoming her back.

Attracting and retaining staff during a talent crunch

The ‘Great Resignation’ is far from over, with a new report from SAP revealing 48 per cent of small-medium-sized businesses (SMEs) agreed that more employees were resigning compared to 12 months ago.

Employers are working hard to attract and retain talent in a job market with more vacancies than skilled professionals to fill them.

Around 45 per cent of the SMEs surveyed were introducing flexible working arrangements to win the war for talent.

Another 39 per cent were bolstering pay packets and other financial incentives to keep staff happy.

Another 36 per cent of SMEs said they would provide upskilling opportunities to retain key talent in the next 12 months.

“The Great Resignation has often been misconstrued as employees leaving to pursue their purpose,” Sofiane Ainine from SAP Australia said. “That’s not the whole story.”

“Talent requires the right remuneration, flexibility, and a clearly communicated progression journey.”

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