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Supply Chain News: “Boomerang” Warehouse Workers a Key Asset in Severe Labor Shortages Battle


Many Advantages to Getting Former Workers Back, Plus Success Tips from Prologistix

April 26, 2022


SCDigest Editorial Staff

Virtually every distribution center manager is struggling to find enough workers, and a wage war of sorts is breaking out, led by Amazon, in the on-going struggle to recruit and retain employees.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

Don’t just write off an employee who hands in their notice, assuming that they are leaving simply because they don't want to work for you any longer

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One potential pool of resource not well tapped by many companies: former employees who left your employment, maybe for a 50-cent per hour wage hike at the DC down the road – but could find their way back.

According to warehouse labor staffing firm ProLogistix, these workers can be called “boomerang” employees - people who left your company in good standing and may want to return.

In a recent blog post, ProLogistix notes that in addition side representing a potentially untapped candidate pool, there are a number of benefits to hiring former employees, such as:

• Reducing costs involved with recruiting and on-boarding talent.
• Minimizing time spent recruiting and training new employees.
• Eliminating the risks associated with hiring someone you don't already know.
• Leveraging the new experiences of your former employees.
• Receiving feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your organization.

• Improving your workplace culture and community for professional and personal growth.


There can be some potential downsides to boomerang employees, ProLogistixs says, with the primary drawback being potential concern that the employee will leave again.

To reduce that worry and reality, it is of course essential to understand why they left in the first place, and respond accordingly. “Clear the air early on in the re-hiring process,” ProLogistix says.

In another blog post on the subject, ProLogistix offers some tips on maximizing the likelihood that good employees who leave some day come back.

(See More Below)





Those include:

Upgrade your exit interviews: Don’t just write off an employee who hands in their notice, assuming that they are leaving simply because they don't want to work for you any longer, ProLogistix says. That assumption isn't always going to be accurate, so take the time to sit down with them and have a frank discussion about their reasons for leaving. You may be surprised to learn that it's due to external factors that would mean they are likely, should circumstances change, to want to come back in the future.

Give them a proper send-off: On an employee's last day, ProLogistix says don't simply say goodbye and good luck as they exit the building. Take the time to wish them well with their colleagues. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant, but laying out a cake or some treats in the staff room can go a long way toward making them feel valued and appreciated. SCDigest isn’t quite sure a cake party for a leaving employee is the right approach, but a cordial send off is a good idea.

Stay social: Thanks to social media, you can now stay connected with potential boomerangers, ProLogistix notes. It recommends maintaining direct contact, such as sending birthday wishes. SCDigest also questions this one, both as potentially being seen as too intrusive and the effort involved across potentially dozens or even hundreds of former warehouse employees. Better idea: set up a space on your web page for former employees, with job postings, stories of successful returning employees, etc.

Keep them in the loop: There will be times when you are undergoing a recruitment drive to fulfil vacancies. Take this opportunity, ProLogistix says, to reach out to former employees to let them know you have positions available and that you thought of them. Ask how they are doing and reiterate your openness to them rejoining the team should they be interested.

There’s no magic bullet to the warehouse labor shortage, but targeting former employees and making it easy to return should be one of the strategies used.

What is your opinion of boomerang workers? Any keys to success? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button below (email) or in the Feedback section.




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