The Company Cultures That Brought These Boomerang Employees Back

A supportive team and opportunities to grow can be valuable draws for potential rehires.

Published on Jun. 12, 2023
 The Company Cultures That Brought These Boomerang Employees Back
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Returning to a former employer after leaving for another opportunity can be a nerve-wracking experience: Is it the right decision? What will colleagues think? Is going back going to get you closer to your goals? 

For some workers, though, the choice to join the ranks of “boomerang” employees is well worth any initial uncertainty.

David Bustam, lead service ops support manager at AIR Communities, told Built In Colorado that at first he hesitated when a former leader suggested he return to AIR a few months into another job. The promise of being welcomed back to a familiar, supportive workplace soon won out, however, and he hasn’t looked back since. 

Upon rejoining the company and reconnecting with his colleagues, he said, “The relationships I had grew stronger than ever. I appreciated them as much as I felt appreciated.”

He came in with a renewed appreciation for the organization’s emphasis on collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit. “AIR’s culture is not just empty words; the culture is the heart of the company,” he said.

For employers who want to reengage the talent pool of potential boomerang employees, Bustam’s story demonstrates the importance of maintaining positive ongoing relationships with company alumni. He may never have taken the chance to reapply if his former managers hadn’t kept in touch. 

Also essential? Offering opportunities for advancement to qualified employees.  

In an analysis of 3 million employee records between 2019 and 2022, the people analytics company Visier found that more than a quarter of “new hires” were in fact former employees who had resigned within the previous three years. Of those boomerang hires, 40 percent left as individual contributors and returned to take managerial positions

Read on to find out what lured star employees at ezCater, Quantum Metric, and AIR Communities back after stints away. 

 

Colin Ryan
Senior Manager of Technology and Product • ezCater

ezCater is an online marketplace and platform connecting businesses with catering services and food providers. 

 

Describe your original tenure with your current employer. When did you join and what was your role?

I initially joined ezCater in June 2018. I was hired as a sourcer on our technology and product recruiting team, with a focus on identifying talent primarily within software engineering and infrastructure. Over my tenure, I progressed into a senior recruiter role. 

 

Tell us about your return. When did you return to your employer? What motivated you to reapply?

I returned to ezCater in July 2021 as manager of technology and product recruiting. EzCater was at an exciting period of growth as it recovered from the initial impact of COVID-19 and returned to its pre-pandemic size. During this time, we were hiring lots of new employees, plus the recruiting team was scaling. I was in a strategic leadership role, building and managing a team and helping our stakeholders make key business hires. 

I value ezCater’s emphasis on transparency. There is a strong feeling of ownership and working collectively toward a common business goal. I can see the impact of my work and recommendations. Despite our size — 800-plus employees — we are nimble. “Try it and track it” is a key value by which we operate. Employees are encouraged to take risks, try new things and learn from the results. 

I also appreciate and missed ezCater’s emphasis on “life-work balance” (yes, life comes first). Our people and their personal and professional success are always top of mind. ezCater encourages us to take advantage of the unlimited PTO policy and to take care of ourselves and the loved ones around us. This balance and sense of ownership and autonomy fuel my success.
 

To this day, two years into my return, I still feel every bit of excitement and support, and couldn’t be more grateful to be here.”

 

When did you know you made the right choice returning to your former employer? 

I knew I was making the right decision to rejoin ezCater the minute I signed my offer letter. At that time, I was talking to my now-manager. His vision for the business and the recruiting team was exciting, but his passion for my career growth was even more exciting. He listened to my career ambitions and genuinely wanted to help me progress as a talent leader. It was incredibly motivating. 

I’ve been fortunate to have some amazing managers and leaders who have influenced my recruiting career, and the opportunity to actually take this step into leadership with the support of my manager and other people team leaders was incredibly exciting. To this day, two years into my return, I still feel every bit of excitement and support, and couldn’t be more grateful to be here. 

 

 

Ryan Patella
Customer Success Engineer • Quantum Metric, Inc.

Quantum Metric is a digital experience analytics company that helps organizations build better digital products faster. 

 

Describe your original tenure with your current employer. When did you join and what was your role?

I joined Quantum Metric in 2020 as a customer success engineer.

 

Tell us about your return. When did you return to your employer? What motivated you to reapply?

I came back in 2022. I kept in touch with quite a few of the people I had worked with. Honestly, it's hard to beat the culture at Quantum Metric. I have never worked at a place that cares so truly and deeply about the morale of the employees. You can see the efforts made every day to ensure that everyone is maintaining a strong work-life balance as well as being provided incredible benefits.

 

I have never worked at a place that cares so truly and deeply about the morale of the employees.”

 

When did you know you made the right choice returning to your former employer?

The day I logged into Quantum Metric and picked up right where I left off. I was very comfortable with the platform and knew that I could succeed again in the role.
 

 

David Bustam
Lead Service Ops Support Manager • AIR Communities

AIR Communities owns and operates a portfolio of 75 apartment communities across the United States.

 

Describe your original tenure with your current employer. When did you join and what was your role?

I joined AIR Communities in 2006 as an entry-level service tech at a community in Boulder, Colorado, and worked my way up to a service manager promotion in 2009. In 2013, I became a multi-site service manager for the Denver area. Then, in 2018, I received a call from a former community manager I had worked with in the past, offering me an opportunity to manage a brand new community being built ten minutes from my home. 

I didn’t know any different from AIR and wasn’t looking for a new job, but the opportunity seemed amazing. Thinking, “It’s the same industry, how different could it be?” I made the choice to leave AIR after 12 years, recruited away by a former team member to a brand-new building. I was sold that the grass was greener somewhere else.

 

Tell us about your return. When did you return to your employer? What motivated you to reapply? 

I had an uneasy feeling at the new company initially, but I chalked that up to a new way of doing things and a new culture. However, the feeling didn’t go away. I soon recognized that the culture was just not a fit for me. This new company had preached the same visions and culture as AIR, but they weren’t demonstrating it. 

A couple of months after starting at the new company, I received a text from a former AIR leader, asking if I was interested in coming back. Inside I was so excited, but I had left just six weeks prior. My pride and embarrassment were playing on my mind, which prevented me from jumping on the offer right away. Soon after that, though, I had a call with a couple of regional leaders, and a few days later, I was again offered an opportunity to return. 

I was so pumped to get back to AIR, but then the anxiety kicked in. Would former colleagues give me a hard time and think that I couldn’t be successful elsewhere? Would the leaders treat me differently? The short answer is, absolutely not. Upon my return, I was welcomed back and treated as if I never left. 

 

At AIR, my voice is heard and I have the autonomy to make decisions on my own.”

 

When did you know you made the right choice returning to your former employer?

I knew I made the right decision to return on my first day back at an AIR community. I was welcomed back by the onsite team, as well as two of our corporate leaders. They toured me around the property and indicated areas that needed immediate attention. They were not directing me, but collaborating. They listened to my thoughts and ideas on how to complete the tasks and offered the support I needed to get them done.

At AIR, my voice is heard and I have the autonomy to make decisions on my own. When it comes to company culture, AIR walks the talk. We stand behind it and uphold it. I think about that every day and thank AIR Communities for allowing me to return and be a part of this amazing company. Not only is the grass greener over here, but the AIR is cleaner, too.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images by Shutterstock

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Fintech • HR Tech