What employees can learn from boomerangs

Sponsored by CMI Media Group

While the Great Resignation and “quiet quitting” have been recent topics of discussion, one employment trend also shaping the employee conversation is boomerang hires. When people boomerang, they leave their old companies and return to their employers. In 2021, of all new hires among companies on LinkedIn, 4.5% were boomerang workers, up from 3.9% in 2019, according to LinkedIn data.

In this Q&A, the Custom in-house agency at WorkLife spoke with CMI Media Group’s Egbavwe Pela, senior vice president, group media lead, and Shaina Gaynor, vice president, people and culture. Pela is a recent boomerang to CMI Media Group, while Gaynor is a talent development expert. Together, they help unpack how both managers and employees can approach boomeranging.

Custom: What are some reasons people choose to leave their workplaces?

Egbavwe Pela: There’s an outdated perception that people need to company-hop to grow. This is usually no longer the case because most agencies have prioritized learning and development. 

Shaina Gaynor: That’s true. They feel they need to enhance their resume by adding more company names, but loyalty and growth within one company are good for career growth. Hiring managers don’t like to see someone who has jumped every year for a title; it can cause concern that the person will not stay long. People often fear having a conversation about growth or have communication issues with their manager, so rather than having a potentially uncomfortable conversation, they start looking elsewhere. But given the stress and time of finding a new job and onboarding, comparatively, you can grow faster in your career by seeking growth opportunities where you already are.

Egbavwe Pela: Also, given the current climate, it’s easy to be recruited away by an offer of more money or a title jump. But, given growth opportunities within agencies and companies, the ability to get the money and title you’re looking for is usually a conversation away.

Custom: When is a time when people feel they should go, but actually should stay? 

Egbavwe Pela: When they get bored. If someone is feeling stagnant, rather than moving somewhere new, they should first tap into the career growth opportunities within their current agency. It’s important to actively manage their career, not just let it happen to them.

Shaina Gaynor: That “grass is greener” feeling can be really strong, but if the other company doesn’t share a lot about their benefits and offerings, or if those offerings aren’t as good as the current company, it doesn’t make sense to make the switch. 

Custom: What are the most important things people should look for in a place where they’re growing their careers? 

Shaina Gaynor: Find a job that fulfills them. Everyone has different motivators and should have a list of things that are important to them. Some examples are company stability, culture, flexibility and the opportunity to make an impact or drive change. Before accepting a job at a new company, they should also interview the hiring manager. What are the benefits beyond the healthcare package? What are the growth opportunities? Is this a stable, healthy workplace? Are employees able to be their true selves at work? Have a checklist of what’s important.

Egbavwe Pela: Being able to be your true self at work is huge. It’s valuable to stay with a company with a strong purpose-built culture supported by company leadership and infrastructure. For example, a company with a diverse leadership team, equality in pay and promotions, established ERGs and an open door policy with leadership shows that the organization is building a positive cultural experience into its employees’ careers.

Custom: How does someone know when it’s really time to leave their company? 

Egbavwe Pela: When they’ve exhausted all options. This includes having the hard conversation with their manager — about needing a higher salary, more growth opportunities or even if it’s time to move to a different team or department.  

Shaina Gaynor: If it’s something out of their control like toxic leadership, toxic culture or lack of culture, that’s a sign that it’s time to go. Everyone should love where they work.

Custom: What advice do you have for people considering leaving their company?

Shaina Gaynor: Over the past eight months, we’ve seen two interesting things happening: more people are boomeranging back to us, and it’s happening in a shorter period of time. They’re walking out the door and pretty much turning right back around and coming back in fewer than eight months. This data tells us a few things: industry recruiters are upselling opportunities or misleading during the recruiting process. An employee might be sold on one variable, and when that employee gets settled in their new role, they find out how important all the other variables can be. So my advice is to do their homework. Look at all the variables – especially the most important things, rather than being sold on just one. 

Egbavwe Pela: Being a boomerang, I tell people not to make rash decisions and, above all, don’t make a move just for money. I see an agency offering a considerable signing bonus as a warning sign. It’s great to get a pay boost, and salary is absolutely important. But it’s critical to look past the money at the job itself, the working environment and make sure you exhaust opportunities at your current company to make sure the door is closed there before making a move. We all make the best decisions we can with the information we have available. When making this life-changing decision, you want to make sure you’ve fully explored all options and ensure the next move is the right place for your talents and skills.