Table of Contents
Introduction to Recruiting Boomerang Nurses
With only about 10% of nurses looking for a new job at any given time, the active candidate pool is far too small to meet the hiring needs of healthcare organizations.
So what about nurses who recently left your organization? Maybe the grass isn't greener after all, and they might be ready to come back home. Re-recruitment campaigns are a growing trend in healthcare as one way to help meet hiring demands.
Recruiting Boomerang Nurses Webinar
In this Nurse Recruitment Experts' webinar, we’ll discuss with two healthcare recruitment veterans:
- The benefits of hiring back nurses who recently left your organization…and are there risks with this approach?
- Tips on how to reach out to, engage with, and rehire recently departed employees.
- How to build a “boomerang employee” initiative into your overall recruitment strategy.
Our guests for this webinar are:
- Danyell Howell, Talent Acquisition Specialist with Point32Health
- Molly Weaver, Founder of Sunflower Talent Strategies
As our healthcare system continues to grow, there is an ever-increasing need for qualified nurses. But finding enough new hires to meet that demand can be challenging. And, as the baby boomer generation begins retiring from the workforce in droves, it’s no wonder there are so many job openings for experienced RNs who have already gone through the training process (and thus could fill those positions even sooner).
If you’re able to attract back potential boomerang nurses who recently left your organization—anyone from a few weeks ago up to several years—you’re in luck: they’re likely more invested in this career path than most other candidates out there. They may also have valuable knowledge of your facility or region that could help improve patient outcomes and satisfaction ratings.
The benefits of hiring back nurses who recently left your organization
If you’re a manager or recruiter who has recently lost an employee to another organization, you may be wondering if your job is safe. After all, no one wants to give up their favorite nurse!
Fortunately, there are many benefits to hiring back a boomerang nurse. Most importantly: these employees already know and understand the culture, mission and values of your organization. They will be more loyal than new hires because they are familiar with your team members and work environment. You can trust that they will be productive and engaged in their roles as employees because they have made a commitment by returning after time away.
How to reach out to boomerang nurses and get them back on your team
The first step should be a gentle one. Send an email, text, or say hello over the phone call. Talk tentatively and don't jump into asking for them back. Ask what went wrong, and how you can improve. If the conversation is positive, explore if they're satisfied with their new employer. Are they meeting expectations? IS the grass greener on the other side.
If not, you can explain what they can expect from your organization now. Share what's different, how you've improved, and what's new. Of course, be honest. Losing an employee is one thing, but hiring them back to the same old same old is bad. They'll leave again and not be coming back.
If the nurse re-applies approach their case differently to other candidates. Give them a timeline for when you will make a decision about whether or not; recognize you have a history, and respect they are taking a big decision to come back.
Tips on how to re-integrate recently departed employees.
You’re not going to have to train boomerang nurses on new systems or software, and they’re already familiar with the processes and procedures of your organization. In fact, this is especially true if you offer an employee re-entry program that provides training for returning nurses to bring them up-to-date on new developments in their field of practice. If you can afford it and make it worth their while (i.e., it won't cost more than hiring someone new), consider offering a salary increase upon return so that the nurse has more money available for retirement savings or other financial goals such as paying off debt or contributing to an RRSP/RRIF account.
Understanding the Boomerang Phenomenon
The concept of boomerang employees—those who exit an organization only to return later—is becoming increasingly prevalent in the nursing profession. Understanding the motivations behind a nurse's decision to leave and later return can offer valuable insights into improving retention strategies. Factors may include pursuit of further education, personal circumstances, or a stint with another healthcare provider for diverse experience. Current industry trends indicate a growing acceptance of this phenomenon, with many organizations now tracking the rate of boomerang hires as a metric for long-term engagement and cultural strength.
Creating a Boomerang-Friendly Culture
A workplace that fosters a positive, supportive environment is more likely to welcome back former employees. Cultivating a culture that values ongoing relationships, even after an employee has left, can be a key differentiator. This includes celebrating departures as much as arrivals, maintaining open communication channels, and recognizing the potential for future returns. A boomerang-friendly culture is one that views the departure of staff not as a permanent loss but as a potential future gain.
The Economics of Boomerang Hiring
Rehiring former nurses (boomerang nurses) can be economically advantageous for healthcare institutions. Boomerang nurses often require less training and are able to navigate the organizational structure with ease, reducing the resources typically spent on onboarding new hires. Additionally, they bring back new skills and perspectives gained during their time away, enriching the diversity of the nursing team's expertise.
Boomerang Success Profiles
Highlighting success stories of boomerang nurses who have returned can serve as a powerful tool for showcasing the benefits of boomerang recruitment. These profiles can detail the experiences of the nurses while away, the reasons for their return, and the contributions they have made since rejoining the organization. Such narratives not only humanize the concept but also demonstrate the tangible value of welcoming back seasoned professionals.
Policy Development for Boomerang Recruitment
Developing clear policies around boomerang nurse recruitment ensures transparency and fairness in the process. These policies might outline the conditions under which a nurse can return, such as time away or performance standards met during their previous tenure. By having a structured approach, organizations can streamline the rehiring process and make it more attractive for nurses considering a return.
The reintegration of boomerang nurses should be handled with care to ensure a smooth transition. Strategies may include assigning a mentor from the existing staff, providing updates on any changes that have occurred in their absence, and offering refresher courses to ensure their skills and knowledge are up-to-date. This not only helps the returning nurse to settle back in but also reinforces their decision to return. View more strategies below:
Leveraging Social Media for Boomerang Recruitment
Social media platforms can be powerful tools for maintaining relationships with former employees, and as such, it becomes a valuable tool for recruiting boomerang nurses. Regular updates, alumni spotlights, and news about organizational achievements can keep former nurses engaged and informed. When the time is right, a well-placed message or campaign can encourage them to consider returning to the fold.
The Role of Exit Interviews in Boomerang Recruitment
Exit interviews should be more than a formality; they can be a goldmine of information for future recruitment. By understanding the reasons behind a nurse's decision to leave, organizations can address any issues and leave the door open for a potential return. These interviews can also help identify candidates who are likely to return and create a tailored approach to encourage this. Read more in our article about stay interviews.
Legal Considerations and Best Practices
When rehiring former staff, it's important to consider the legal implications, such as re-employment rights and benefits. Organizations should consult with legal experts to develop best practices that protect both the nurse's and the organization's interests. You may want to delve into common legal pitfalls and how to avoid them in your pursuit of recruiting boomerang nurses.
Boomerang Recruitment Campaigns
Effective recruitment campaigns targeted at former employees can reinforce the value the organization places on their past staff. These campaigns can highlight the benefits of returning, share success stories, and communicate any new initiatives or developments within the organization that may appeal to former nurses.
Metrics to Measure Boomerang Recruitment Success
To evaluate the effectiveness of boomerang recruitment strategies, it's crucial to establish clear KPIs. These might include the percentage of boomerang hires, their retention rates, and their progression within the organization post-return. By tracking these metrics, organizations can refine their approach and improve the success rate of these initiatives.
Alumni Networks for Healthcare Professionals
Creating an alumni network for former nursing staff can foster long-term relationships and keep the organization top of mind for potential returnees. These networks can host events, share news, and provide professional development resources, keeping the connection alive and well.
Incorporating feedback from boomerang nurses into recruitment and retention strategies can lead to significant improvements. This feedback can provide a unique perspective on what works, what doesn't, and what could be the deciding factor for nurses considering a return.
Boomerang Nurse Case Studies
In-depth case studies of boomerang nurses can illustrate the process and benefits of returning to a former employer. These narratives can serve as a testament to the organization's commitment to its staff and the opportunities it provides for career growth and development.
Final Thoughts on Recruiting Boomerang Nurses
Former employees are your best candidates. They already know the company culture and what it takes to succeed in your organization, so they have no learning curve when they return.
In conclusion, here's how you can build a “boomerang employee” initiative into your overall recruitment strategy:
Identify opportunities. Are there any job openings that are perfect for a returning nurse? If so, you'll want to look closely at those particular positions and consider candidates with experience in that area of care.
Look for talent wherever it might be found—including the people who have already left your organization! Are there former employees who went on to bigger things in other organizations but might be willing to come back if given the right opportunity?
Make sure they know they're welcome when they're ready! Approach boomerang nurses differently, and acknowledge this is an important step for them.
President of Nurse Recruitment Experts.
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