Job Hopping and Boomerang Employees

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Apr 10, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights

Embracing Job Hoppers and Boomerang Employees 

The idea of workplace loyalty, held by employees throughout much of the 20th century, seems to be a thing of the past, with employees "job hopping" in increasing numbers.This is true across all demographics, but is especially apparent regarding millennials in the workforce, those born generally between 1980 and 1996. In fact, a Gallup report showed that 21% of millennials surveyed changed jobs in the past year, and only one-half of millennials surveyed see themselves working in their current jobs a year from now. One deciding factor of the decision that a job hopper makes is money, but it doesn't seem to be a deal breaker. Sometimes job hopping leads to employees taking pay cuts with their new employers. Some employees even choose to relocate to a new city or state for a new job.  

Another trend to emerge is the "boomerang" employee. As the term implies, a boomerang employee is one who leaves a company for another opportunity, but later returns to the original company bringing additional experience and skills. Here are some of the reasons behind those trends, and considerations for employers who want to remain competitive in hiring top talent: 


Job Hopping 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median length of time employees were with the same employer was 4.2 years in January 2016, which was down from the previous time of 4.6 years in January 2015. The stigma that once surrounded job hopping is disappearing across all industries and sectors as employers and hiring managers are realizing that job hopping is the new normal. Expecting "lifer" employees is no longer realistic for most organizations; that has as much to do with the employees as with the companies themselves. In this current environment, expect the majority of the workforce to be made up of job hoppers and boomerang employees. 


Why Employees Engage in Job Hopping  

There are many reasons employees are switching jobs, and while increasing compensation is a nice gesture to keep them, most reasons have little or nothing to do with money. This begs the question, what has greater value than money? OK, perhaps some of the decision is based around money, but what was the major reason surrounding the job hopping trend? 7 times out of 10 it’s to expand knowledge and career development. Since many companies lack a sophisticated training program and rarely support or encourage development through third party resources, employees venture out to find roles to expand their skills and grow professionally. The remaining hoppers are craving challenges, opportunities to advance, relocation, and yes…money. The great thing about this story is how much control the employer has over the outcome. An employee who wants to grow in their career and expand this knowledge base will look elsewhere if they feel those opportunities aren’t present. What are you doing to reduce job hopping?  


Impact on Employees  

Job hopping has an obvious impact on organizations. The costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees are measurable, but there's also an impact on company culture. Embedding ongoing education and training opportunities, creating career paths, and fostering an environment where continuing education is encouraged can go a long way when it comes to helping employers limit the effect of job hopping. Despite the costs, job hopping can be advantageous for employers. When there's turnover, the employer has an opportunity to breathe new perspective into the organization by consolidating teams, combining roles, or introducing a new skill set to improve dynamics between departments. When one door closes, employers should choose the next door to open.  


Boomerang Employees  

An interesting trend with job hopping is the increase in the number of employees who return to previous employers. Companies that have maintained a mindset against re-hiring former employees may want to reconsider that stance. Former employees who left an organization to pursue other opportunities, but later want to return, can provide a treasure trove of information and skills that can make a huge difference in terms of competition. For employers and employees alike, there's an increased importance on keeping the door open for valued employees to return later on as a more seasoned professional. While departing employees are often mindful not to "burn their bridges," employers should keep that same advice in mind as well.  

Companies who want to be competitive in recruiting top talent should look for ways to embrace these trends. Learn about the latest tips and trends in our upcoming 2017 Salary Guide. You'll find great information in there that you can use to your advantage for the cost of nothing. Stay educated, stay in the lead.


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