These days, it’s rare to come across a ‘lifer’ — someone who has spent their entire career with one organization. It’s especially true of top performers and those with specialist skills, who are more and more likely to seek their next career move outside their employer’s four walls.
So, when those highly valued people walk out the door, what can talent acquisition specialists do to lay the groundwork for bringing them back into the fold as ‘boomerangs’?
Know Who You Would Bring Back keep reading…
Other than referrals from your top-performing employees, it’s hard to find a corporate recruiting source with a higher quality of hire (i.e. on-the-job performance) and a higher ROI than boomerang rehire programs. If you’re not familiar with the term, a “boomerang rehire” is a former top-performing employee who you rehire after an absence of a few years. I rank them No. 2 in new hire quality and they also produce significant volume of hires (CareerXroads ranks them N0. 6 in volume, after college hires).
Although boomerang programs have been around for years. In the past they were a bit of a burden because if you wanted to find and keep in touch with your former top-performing employees, you had to put together and maintain your own corporate alumni group. Fortunately today with the tremendous growth of LinkedIn, you can now easily find out where any former employee works. That makes this source among the easiest to find candidates. Updating their LinkedIn profile can also signal to you that they are probably once again considering a move to their next firm, which provides you with an opportunity to reach out to them and ask them to consider returning.
Other firms now build a simple online talent community group and maintain relationships through text or e-mail. The benchmark firms in boomerang rehiring programs include Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Booz Allen, Bain, and DaVita, which has reached as high as 16 percent of its hires coming from its impressive “you are always welcome here” boomerang program.
Why Boomerang Rehires Are Such High-quality Hires keep reading…
A retention toolkit for innovators
As the economy picks up and unemployment rates continue to drop, I can forecast with a good deal of certainty that the turnover rates among all employees will increase. The value of and the demand for innovators will increase even more rapidly. In addition, innovators who have felt “stuck” at a firm for several years during the downturn may now have a reduced need for job security. And even if they have been treated well, they may simply be in the market for something new.
It is possible to retain almost every employee (many top firms like SAS have a 2-3 percent turnover rate), provided that you have the right tools and you are willing to be aggressive.
In the first part of this retention toolkit for innovators article I covered retention tools and approaches that could be implemented solely by innovator’s managers. In this second part, I cover numerous additional bold and aggressive retention tools and approaches for innovators but each of these requires some outside support from HR or senior managers.
Part II — 17 Bold and Aggressive Retention Tools and Actions for Innovators That May Require Senior Management or HR Support keep reading…
The Top 18 Metrics for Recruiting Leaders
It’s hard to find anything in recruiting that has failed to live up to its potential more than recruiting metrics. For nearly two decades recruiting leaders have poured resources into measuring recruiting success, and in most cases, the best that they have to show for it is being able to say “yes, we have metrics.” If you don’t know what’s wrong with most recruiting metrics, I have outlined in great detail in a previous article “what is wrong with metrics”).
So if you are a recruiting leader and you are frustrated or disappointed with your current metrics, this article will provide you with a list of the metrics that you should be using. I assure you that after reading this list you will definitely question your current metrics. The other possible option is that you may think that the metrics provided here are impossible, but you would be wrong (they are not).
Understanding the Three Time Periods That Metrics Should Cover keep reading…
If you are a recruiting leader, I would like to introduce you to a concept that many are not familiar with, which is “whole career employment.” The premise of this hiring and workforce planning model is that instead of the traditional expectation that employees will work at a firm continuously from their hire date until they retire, leaders need to plan for the eventuality when top employees may come and go from your firm several times throughout their whole career.
This new model is necessary because it fits both the changing loyalty levels and expectations of workers and the evolving way that work is done. The average tenure of the American worker at a single firm is just over four years and Americans may hold between 5 and 10 jobs throughout their career. This process of hiring, losing and bringing back employees requires a hiring model that is more flexible and sophisticated than most firms currently have.
A whole career model is a hiring and workforce planning strategy that focuses on the reduced loyalty and retention levels among top performing employees. Instead of focusing on hiring a top person only one single time, it plans on targeting them for rehire at several different points throughout their entire career. Smart firms will plan to recruit and hire the very best back into regular or contingent jobs at points in their career when we need them and when they are willing and able to work for us in some capacity. The goal is to get as much high-quality work from top performers whenever they are available throughout their career.
Lifelong Employment Is Coming to an End keep reading…
I’ve written many times about actions recruiting managers can take to improve the impact of recruiting, but with the ongoing pressure many recruiting functions feel to do more with less, now is a great time to review a short list practical, easily implemented actions appropriate for an individual recruiter or manager. These low-hanging fruit are capable of producing dramatic results and do not require significant resources.
12 Simple Actions Capable Of Improving Recruiting Results
Over the past decade I’ve engaged with several hundred organizations around the world. Based on my observations in dealing with each of them, the following 12 actions categorized by recruiting lifecycle stage are proven to produce results quickly. keep reading…
Economic downturns, mergers, and acquisitions all place pressure on organizations to curb labor costs. No time in the last decade has that tenet been more apparent than right now.
Layoffs, large or small, force organizations to cut loose the talent in which they have invested salary and training dollars. While talent released during a layoff today may seem like little more than an expense, tomorrow it could be the difference between success and failure.
What’s hot in talent management changes quite often. Right now, there’s no hotter topic within the talent management community than workforce planning.
The reasons are simple: with the current economy driving revenues down dramatically, many senior executives are examining how to plan ahead in order to increase their firms’ capabilities, reduce costs, and survive the economic chaos likely to continue for some time.
Organizations need an effective talent management plan that will allow them to “explode out of the box” at the first sight of economic recovery, yet one that doesn’t threaten economic sustainability in the short term.
While most in talent management are continuing to react with stale cost containment approaches developed decades ago, strategic talent managers are stepping forward with robust workforce planning solutions and new work models that account for the significant changes in both how people work and live that have occurred in the last 20 years.
If you are interested in doing more than talking about being strategic, here are some recommended action steps to help improve your organization’s workforce planning.
As previously discussed in Part 1 of this series, a corporate boomerang/alumni rehire program is an excellent, low-cost, high ROI recruiting approach capable of producing top performing talent. Often underused, it is a best practice that professional service firms like McKinsey and Booz Allen Hamilton have used for years to leverage a talent population that is familiar with their organizational culture and that has a proven ability to perform. While Part 1 detailed the reasons that any recruiting function should invest in boomerang/alumni programs, Part 2 will focus on the steps that you must take in order to develop a world-class boomerang/alumni program.
Steps in Building a World-Class Boomerang/Alumni Program
There is no standard format for a corporate alumni program, but there are a number of essential steps that you should consider when implementing a program if you intend on being successful. They include:
Program Start-up Steps
- Assign an individual or team to be accountable for the boomerang/alumni programs.
Boomerang efforts have one of the highest ROIs in recruiting. When you take the time to examine the profile of new hires who produce the best on-the-job performance, invariably previous employees returning to the organization, or “boomerangs,” make the list. Boomerang is a term that was coined to identify top performing “corporate alumni” who are either purposely targeted and brought back into the organization, or who return voluntarily after some absence from the organization.
Boomerang recruitment is a high ROI activity, primarily because the cost per hire is very low and little time or effort must be invested in getting to know the candidate. While boomerangs make great hires, they also empower or embolden retention efforts by exposing employees at risk of attrition to first-hand accounts of life outside the organization and the selling points of what brought them back. Boomerangs are highly valuable to an organization not just because they bring back great stories, but also because they bring a fresh perspective, yet one capable of embedding years of history. By stepping out of the organization, there is a good chance that boomerangs have learned new skills and strategies that are applicable or valuable in redesigning and improving your approaches. They can also bring back valuable information about how a competitor does business and the strengths and weaknesses inherent to their approach. Having been exposed to an organization doing something successful a different way, boomerangs can recognize what is better about your approach and what can be improved. In short, these are A++ candidates who deserve special treatment.
Beware of Antiquated Thinking!
Hiring boomerangs can be political. A number of managers hold the antiquated notion that boomerangs are traitors and should not be allowed to return. This notion is silly because the job world has changed, and the number of employees who remain loyal to a single organization throughout their lifetimes is both extremely limited and suspect in nature. It is also illogical to assume in an era where specific skills are increasingly more valuable on a project versus a long-term basis that separation from an organization has anything to do with loyalty. Individuals with the most valuable skills are constantly offered opportunities, and should a valued employee accept one, it is as much the manager?s fault for failing to retain the employee as it is the employee’s fault for taking advantage of market conditions. In addition, managers should not assume that just because someone doesn?t leave an organization that they are loyal. It could simply mean he or she has few or no opportunities! Managers need to get over it; rehiring former employees is quite common in sports and no one ever holds a grudge there.
Best Practice Firms
Although the hiring of boomerangs using a formal process is not widespread, there are several firms that have implemented boomerang programs. Consulting firms like McKinsey, Ernst & Young, Bain & Co, and Deloitte have long nurtured the relationship between the firm and its alumni. Other firms like HP and Gensler (who have been written-up for having boomerang rates as high as 12%) have also been successful in building alumni programs and re-recruiting boomerangs. However, the best practice leader in leveraging this approach based on my observations is management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. It has gone the extra step and dedicated resources to a unique team known as the “comeback kids” that has proven very successful in getting former employees to return.
Reasons for Hiring Boomerangs or Corporate Alumni
There are numerous reasons why you should develop a formal effort to re-recruit top employees who left your firm. Some of them include:
- Fast hire. Boomerangs offer an opportunity to acquire a top person quickly (the search and the assessment take little time).