11th March, 2016: Attrition is a critical issue in today’s volatile job market and organizations are realizing the fact that losing a high performer to competition is expensive and finding a replacement involves time and money. This workforce churn in the industry has triggered a new trend - a surge in the number of returning employees.   

A recent survey conducted on this topic by Randstad India reflects a radical change in the mindset of jobseekers when it comes to going back to their previous organizations. Interestingly, about 60% of the respondents opined that they are willing to rejoin their previous organizations. Almost equivalent number of male and female respondents shared this view. The top four reasons indicated by the respondents for them to consider joining their former employers are increased salary (64%), a familiar environment (52%), an elevated position at work (48%) and the employer brand (39%). 

A whopping 73% of the survey respondents also mentioned that they will definitely advise friends and family to apply for a job with any their previous organizations, the top reasons being brand reputation, opportunity to work with some of the best names from the industry, competitive salary and benefits, career growth opportunities, good work culture and financial stability of the company. On the other hand, respondents who mentioned that they will definitely not recommend their previous organizations to friends and family or are not sure about it (27%) indicated so, the top four reasons being lack of work-life balance, possible incompatibility with reporting managers, office politics and lack of strong employee value propositions (EVP) in their previous organizations. 

The intention of the workforce towards large-scale job shifts to leverage the increased opportunities in the job market today has emerged clearly in this survey. A staggering 73% of the respondents mentioned that they strongly feel frequent job shifts have helped them grow in their career. Almost equivalent number of male (37%) and female (36%) respondents opined the same. On the other hand, 27% indicated that they do not feel so owing to the top three reasons- lack of time and experience required for career progression opportunities, lack of in-depth knowledge gained in a particular role and lack of credibility in the employee by the new employer. 

The survey also highlighted the top reasons behind frequent job shifts by the Indian workforce - 71% of the respondents rated lack of career growth opportunities as the number one reason to change jobs. Additionally, the survey also revealed that 48% rated lack of adequate compensation as the second most important reason and 40% rated dissatisfaction with the work culture as the third biggest reason to leave their previous organizations, followed by lack of work-life balance and employee benefits. 

Presenting the survey insights, Dr. Moorthy K. Uppaluri, MD & CEO, Randstad India said, “From an employer’s perspective, the trend of returning employees is definitely a positive one though it will intensify the competition for job seekers even with a plethora of opportunities in the job market today. Returning employees are indeed assets to organizations; they tend to have higher loyalty, they get up to speed quicker as it is easier for the employer to integrate them back to the organization’s workstyle, culture, systems and processes. Today, it has become imperative for organizations to build their employer brand and communicate their EVP at all levels so as to arrest attrition. For those organizations that have not succeeded in doing so, returning employees are also ideal examples to showcase internally to those who are not sure about pursuing a career with that organization”.

Dr. Uppaluri further added, “Welcoming your returning high performers is definitely a good move, provided it is done strategically with a clearly defined rehiring policy in place to make sure that only the best and the right talent is inducted back into the organization. Having an ERM – Employee Relationship Management system with tools and technologies to track the performance record, networking style, contribution highlights etc. is also an ideal way of of building a long term relationship with the returning employees, their peers and the organizations”. 

81% of the survey respondents belonged to the age group of 25-35 years, 17% aged less than 25 years and 2% above 35 years old. 55% of the survey respondents had 1-2 job changes and 26% had 3-4 job changes in their career. The survey findings also highlighted that only a very small percentage of the survey respondents (24%) are part of any of their previous employer alumni programs.