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Episode #314 – Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring: ‘Boomerang Employees’

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #314 - Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring: ‘Boomerang Employees’

Caleb: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

Today, we’ll be talking about “boomerang employees” in terms of Animal Health and Veterinary hiring. Stacy, this is the first time that we’ve discussed this topic on the podcast, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that is right Caleb.  We are talking about it today because I believe in the current job market, boomerang employees are very relevant. In other words, they can be a good option for employers trying to hire.

Caleb: That all sounds good. Can you start by telling us exactly what a boomerang employee is?

Stacy: Certainly. A boomerang employee refers to an individual who leaves an organization voluntarily and later returns to work for the same company. As the name implies, this term reflects the cyclical nature of their employment trajectory, which is similar to a boomerang’s flight path.

Caleb: Hence, the name.

Stacy: Yes, that is right. And boomerang employees are becoming more common. According to LinkedIn data released last July, boomerang employees accounted for 4.3% of all new hires in the U.S. in 2021, and the percentage has been rising in recent years.

Caleb: So, employers are taking advantage of these employees to fill important positions?

Stacy: They are. As we have been discussing on the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment  podcast, it is difficult to hire qualified candidates in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession right now, especially if you are trying to hire veterinarians. There is a shortage of Veterinary doctors in the job market at the moment like we have talked about many times. This is putting a tremendous amount of strain on already-strapped employers. That is why it makes sense to hire boomerang employees.

Caleb: Stacy, I know you might plan to address this, but I have a question. In order for an Animal Health Company or Veterinary Practice to hire a boomerang employee, that means when the employee left the first time, they left on good terms, is that correct?

Stacy: Correct, and thank you for bringing that up, because it is an important point. Having an employee leave on good terms is critical if you want to hire that same employee at a later date. If they did not leave on good terms, then hiring them as a boomerang employee could be counterproductive.

Caleb: So, if they did leave on good terms, then there is no reason to not consider hiring them again?

Stacy: Right. There is plenty of opportunity in the job market right now, and Veterinary professionals, including veterinarians, are changing jobs more frequently. Just because they leave an employer at some point does not mean they would not be open to rejoining the employer again in the future.

But there are multiple reasons why bringing back a boomerang employee makes sense in terms of Animal Health and Veterinary hiring.

Caleb: What reasons are those?

Stacy: First, the employee already knows about the organization. They know about the company culture and its processes. Having worked for the company before, they understand its mission, vision, and internal dynamics. This familiarity translates into a shorter learning curve. Boomerang employees are already aware of the company’s expectations and can quickly adapt to their role.

Boomerang employees also possess a deep understanding of the Animal Health Company’s or Veterinary Practice’s history, projects, clients, customers, and industry-specific nuances. This knowledge can be valuable in maintaining continuity, especially during periods of transition or when specific expertise is required.

Caleb: In other words, it will not take the employee very long to get up to speed?

Stacy: Exactly, which means it will not take the employee as long to start becoming productive and contributing to the bottom line of the organization. Not only that, but the employee has also already established professional connections within the company. They have existing relationships with colleagues, superiors, and subordinates, allowing them to seamlessly reintegrate into the team.

Caleb: So, in the case of a boomerang employee, the phrase, “Familiarity breeds contempt” does not apply.

Stacy: Yes, you could say that. In fact, since the employee came back to work at the organization, it represents a loyalty and commitment to the company on the part of the employee.

After all, they have experienced other workplaces and career opportunities, but they consciously chose to come back to a particular employer. This loyalty often translates into increased engagement, productivity, and increased longevity.

Caleb: Stacy, wouldn’t it be a boost to the morale of everyone at the company when a boomerang employee is hired? Especially if the employee left on good terms and everyone liked them when they worked there the first time?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely! The return of a boomerang employee can have a positive impact on the morale of the existing workforce. It demonstrates that the organization values its former employees and fosters a supportive environment. Seeing a former colleague come back can instill a sense of pride and loyalty among employees. It can reinforce the belief that the company provides growth opportunities and is a desirable place to work.

However, everything that we’ve discussed to this point are considered practical advantages to hiring boomerang employees. There are also financial advantages, as well, although we’ve already touched briefly upon one of them.

Caleb: What are the financial advantages?

Stacy: Once again, there are multiple advantages, and I will address them one at a time. The first one involves reduced Animal Health and Veterinary hiring costs.

Traditional hiring processes involve advertising job openings, screening resumes, conducting interviews, and conducting background checks. These processes can result in significant expenses, such as advertising fees and personnel’s time and effort.

When you hire a boomerang employee, though, the organization may be able to bypass these expenses. That’s because company officials already have a known quantity in terms of the candidate’s qualifications, skills, and fit within the company culture.

In the same vein as this are lower onboarding and training costs. New hires often require extensive orientation sessions, training programs, and mentorship to familiarize themselves with the company’s processes, systems, and culture.

Caleb: That’s not the case with boomerang employees, though.

Stacy: Right. They’ve already been through the process during their previous stint with the organization. Their prior knowledge and experience significantly reduce the time and resources required for onboarding and training.

And now I’d like to discuss the financial advantage that we’ve already touched upon.

Caleb: Do you mean increased productivity?

Stacy: Yes, exactly! Boomerang employees are often able to “hit the ground running.” As I mentioned earlier, they already may have an understanding of the organization’s goals and internal dynamics. This means they can quickly integrate into their roles and deliver results. This accelerated productivity translates into cost savings. The organization can benefit from their contributions sooner, leading to increased efficiency and revenue generation.

And our next advantage is actually an extension of one of the other advantages that we’ve already addressed.

Caleb: Which advantage was that?

Stacy: A boost to employee morale. When a company hires a boomerang employee, the other employees feel a sense of camaraderie and belonging. The employee’s return indicates a level of satisfaction and commitment.

Caleb: So, the boomerang employee returning decreases the likelihood that other existing employees will want to leave?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. And one of the best ways for organizations to save money and increase productivity is to retain their current employees, especially their best ones.

Caleb: Are there other financial advantages to hiring boomerang employees?

Stacy: Yes, there’s one more that I’d like to mention, and that’s enhanced customer relationships. This one is pretty much straightforward. Let’s take Veterinary practices for example. In this case, the customers are the pet owners, and the ability to deal well with pet owners is a tremendous commodity for employers. A boomerang employee, especially a veterinarian, already has relationships with the existing customer base. Ideally, these customers or pet owners will be pleased that the employee has returned and will have continued faith in the organization and the services that it provides.

Caleb: So, there are obviously many advantages for employers that hire boomerang employees. But what can Animal Health Companies and Veterinary Practices do to make it happen? How can they set themselves up for success?

Stacy: That’s an excellent question, and there are three main steps involved with the process.

The first step in hiring boomerang employees is to make sure that every departing employee leaves on good terms, if possible. Part of this involves conducting an exit interview, during which you can gather feedback and understand the employee’s specific reasons for leaving. You can also use the opportunity to express the organization’s interest in maintaining a good relationship and obtaining consent to stay in touch for potential rehiring opportunities.

The second step is to stay connected with the employee by maintaining regular communication through professional networking platforms, such as LinkedIn. Connect with them and engage in occasional conversations or updates.

And the third step is to reach out to the employee when a potential rehiring opportunity is identified. Gauge the former employee’s interest level and their availability. You never know. They may view leaving your organization as a mistake and would be open to the possibility of returning.

Caleb: Stacy, how can working with a recruiter or search consultant help an organization hire boomerang employees? Are they more likely to be able to hire these types of employees if they work with a recruiter?

Stacy: While I don’t have any statistics to back it up, I would say that based upon my experience, an organization is better positioned to hire boomerang employees if they work with a recruiter or search consultant.

Caleb: Why is that?

Stacy: There are multiple reasons.

Engaging with an agency recruiter can be an integral part of an organization’s strategy to attract and hire boomerang employees effectively. Recruiters possess unique insights into the job market and can identify potential candidates who have previously worked for the organization and may be open to returning.

In addition, the recruiter has worked with the employee before. In fact, they may have even placed the candidate the first time they worked for the organization. This is important because when the recruiter is involved in the initial hiring of the boomerang employee, they develop a professional relationship built on trust and mutual understanding.

This relationship becomes an asset when considering rehiring opportunities. The recruiter will have an understanding of the candidate’s background, career trajectory, and reasons for leaving in the past, which helps in assessing the candidate’s potential fit during the rehiring process.

Caleb: So, what you are saying is that the recruiter can be on the lookout for rehiring opportunities for the organization, even if the organization itself is not on the lookout for them or is even aware of them.

Stacy: Yes, exactly. A recruiter can be the “eyes and ears” for an employer when it comes to Animal Health and Veterinary hiring. This is especially the case if the former employee is not actively looking for a new opportunity.

A recruiter or search consultant can effectively identify these hidden gems, presenting the opportunity for the organization to reconnect with talented individuals who might not have otherwise considered returning. This expands the pool of potential candidates and increases the likelihood of finding the best fit for the organization.

Caleb: Stacy, I imagine that there have been instances in your career as a recruiter and search consultant in which you helped a client company hire a boomerang employee. Is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, it does happen, and it could happen more frequently if Animal Health companies and Veterinary practices followed the steps outlined in today’s podcast.

Boomerang employees offer organizations a unique opportunity to benefit from familiar faces with a wealth of experience and dedication to the company. Working with a recruiter can be a strategic move to successfully rehire boomerang employees, just like it’s a strategic move when hiring any employee. By embracing boomerang employees and leveraging the skills of recruiters, organizations can create a dynamic and agile workforce that contributes to their long-term success.

Caleb: Stacy, we’re just about out of time, so is there anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap up today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: Yes. In today’s job market, employers must be willing to explore all avenues at their disposal when it comes to talent acquisition, and that is especially the case within the Veterinary profession. After all, as we’ve been discussing on the podcast, it’s very difficult to hire in the profession, especially when it comes to hiring veterinarians.

Because of this, hiring boomerang employees is certainly a viable option. There are only so many veterinarians in the job market, and there’s nothing wrong with rehiring a veterinarian who used to work for your company or practice previously. It makes both practical sense and financial sense and should be part of an organization’s master plan for recruiting, hiring, and retaining top talent.

Caleb: How can the members of our listening audience contact you, Stacy?

Stacy: They can visit The VET Recruiter website at www.thevetrecruiter.com, and if you’re listening to this podcast episode, then you might already be on the site. I would recommend navigating to the “Contact Us” section in the main navigation, where you’ll see multiple ways in which you can reach out to us.

Caleb: Stacy, thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about Animal Health and Veterinary hiring and the role of boomerang employees.

Stacy: It’s been my pleasure, Caleb and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

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