Skip to content

Unique Way to Measure your Workplace Culture: Boomerang Rate

There is an obvious correlation between customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. 
Many businesses have embraced the idea: Make your employees happy and they will make your customers happy. Over the years businesses have measured the success of their employee/employer relationship in numerous ways. These can be represented in anonymous surveys, simple 1-10 scores stating their satisfaction, retention, and turnover rate. Since the turmoil of 2020, we have found that one of the largest key indicators that your company is embracing an amazing culture comes down to a lesser-known Boomerang Rate.

The fact is, no matter how hard you try, employees will leave your business. Sometimes employees leave for reasons wildly outside your control. Reasons like relocation to other cities, family restructuring where a spouse may become a stay-at-home parent, disability, and everything in between. On the more-in-your-control side, we see where employees quit because of their job satisfaction, take a competing job, or are terminated because of a litany of workplace disobedience incidents. We have found over the years that no matter how good we work as a business there is always turnover. Turnover is an umbrella over all departments and work classes, but one key indicator we started measuring since the ‘Great Resignation’ is the question of: how many employees are trying to come back? This metric commonly referred to as Boomerang Rate is known as the concept that employees leave (for any reason) and at some point (after 3-12 months) attempt to re-enter your organization to pick up where they left off. 

We track all reengaged ex-employees because if your culture is in a good place, you will even have terminated employees knocking at your door begging for forgiveness in hopes that they can come back. Others will come back after their circumstances have changed and hope they can revisit the idea that they will work for you – and bring all their training and expertise with them. This metric is also a good sign of how well your immediate managers are doing. If you have a high turnover and high boomerang rate under a particular manager, it could be safe to say that, they love the company, but their former boss was running them off. 

Start observing this behavior. Not only will it give you data on culture, managers, and workplace satisfaction. But it can give you unfiltered information on your business. Take these opportunities with extreme attention because these individuals (whether you want them back or not) will be willing to give you very new feedback on what is great/not-so-great about your company. You can learn a lot from an Exit Interview (if you don’t already have one)... But you can learn even more from a Boomerang Interview. You will receive feedback on your benefits, morale, and manager feedback. 

The one area that may surprise you is that most of the great employees who left voluntarily may expect up to 25% more in pay because of their already-equipped skill set you invested in. This is the hard part. You as a leader will need to decide if you welcome the past employees back into your organization and affect the team that stuck around. It may be a golden opportunity because those team members will rally and support the culture that they know is better. Call it the “Grass is not greener” rally cry. 

We use this measurement in numerous ways and date ranges. This also helps us measure onboarding talent, project cycles, and even the stressful seasonality we all experience in our business. So get with your team and set up parameters in your applicant tracking system (ATS) to help identify what your Boomerang Rate is. It will unlock information you never realized you needed. 

Want to know other great tips to get the boomerang coming back your way? Speak to our employee retention experts at U to see learn best practices in retaining - and regaining - your talent with our powerful platform.