Talent crunch leading firms to hire ex-staffers: Experts

In the last five years, growth in this practice has been 100 per cent and most visible in mid-level employees

By: PTI | Mumbai | Published:November 28, 2016 4:49 pm

Facing a talent crunch and high workforce churn, corporates now waking up to hiring ‘boomerang employees’, or ex-staffers who rejoin a firm — a trend which is expected to grow by 10 per cent next year, according to industry experts. Organisations have realized that many of their employees left which may not have been related to the interest levels in either the employer organisation or the role.

“Rather, in most cases, it was a personal situation of the employee or a particular situation at the workplace in spite of the employee having interest in the role, good performance, matching competence and positive attitude to work,” said CIEL HR Services CEO Aditya Narayan Mishra.

Hence, the cost of induction and risk of failure in mainstreaming the employee is low in this case, he added. “We see IT and services sectors are leading the practice of (hiring) boomerang employees. However, retail and engineering sectors are also catching up fast.

“My estimate is that in the last 5 years, growth in this practice has been 100 per cent and most visible in mid-level employees,” he said.

However, one of the possible failures in re-hiring is when an employee gets back out of desperation, he said, adding at such times the boomerang employee becomes over-confident and this comes in the way of performance.

Echoing a similar view, TeamLease Services Senior Vice President Kunal Sen said this trend has always been there, but has taken off coinciding with the boom of Indian start-ups in the last couple of years, with millennials showing appetite to explore risks.

“IT, followed by FMCG and retail, saw the largest migration of talent to start-ups and is now seeing the largest migration of talent back from start-ups. Trend is expected to increase in 2017 unless funding situation for start-ups improves… (the trend is) estimated to cross 10 per cent,” he said.

“Moving from higher to lower risk environment, especially if you need to be financially stable, is one of the motivations for ‘boomerang employees’,” he opined.

However, Sen said this trend, which is taking place at all levels but more at entry and mid positions, may not be giving many of these employees an opportunity to negotiate their remuneration too much.

Many companies have put in place “re-hire policies” to ensure quality is not compromised, he said.

Executive search company GlobalHunt’s Managing Director Sunil Goel said many times it has been observed that such practice does not work as the peer group of these ‘boomerang employees’ have grown to the next level with internal training and development programmes that makes adjusting to the culture difficult.

Though the market is dynamic, talent crunch remains, so this trend will continue to grow, he said. Also, organisations are growing in size, as earlier the maximum size used to be 500-1,000 professionals, which has now increased to 5,000-10,000, he said.

Moreover, he said, employees in their whole career experience around 4-6 companies and admire 1-2 of those companies where they get maximum excitement in terms of their contribution to work, equation with bosses, people, policy and culture.

“So they prefer to go back because of brand loyalty or they feel this worked best for them and they got maximum opportunity to perform and maintain work-life balance, so it encourages them to go back,” he added.