Boomerang Nonprofit Employees?

Many organizations across the country are wondering when the Great Resignation Period will end. I left a 19-year career in the nonprofit sector in this era to join Armstrong McGuire and I’m happy to share that it was one of the best personal and professional decisions I have made. However, many others who have transitioned before and during this period want to go back to the organizations where they were previously employed. These folks are being called “boomerang employees” and I see this as a potential opportunity for the nonprofit sector.

I acknowledge my biased thinking that working within and with nonprofits is the most rewarding career path an individual can take, so I can relate and understand why people would want to go back. New surveys and hiring statistics are showing that people regret transitioning away from their previous jobs during the Great Resignation and are, in fact, being rehired by their previous organizations. Outside of this data, I have two dear “boomerang” friends who have recently applied and been rehired at nonprofits they previously worked for.

I do believe this trend has potential opportunities for our sector but wanted to leave you with a few things to consider if you are thinking of hiring a boomerang employee.

1.  What terms did the employee leave on? Do your homework here to reflect on why the employee left.

2.  Understand how your organization has evolved since the employee left. Do you have new diversity, equity, and inclusion hiring practices or recruitment goals and how does bringing back a previous employee impact this? What dynamics within your structures have changed that a previous employee can help or hurt? What does onboarding a previous employee look like?

3.  Really understand we have all changed as people during the pandemic. While you may be considering rehiring a previous employee, you will not be getting the same exact person.

4.  As you are creating a pipeline of potential candidates for open positions, reach out to potential “boomerang employees” if they are not reaching out to you.

5.  Remember that everyone deserves a fresh start and remember that the boomerang employee may leave again.

I could keep going with the considerations for boomerang employees and you are probably starting to think of some, too. Take this conversation to your organization to see what ideas they have.

A lot of things have changed in our world over the last two year, but I take comfort in knowing people are pursuing what they want and love.

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