Turnover often occurs early in an employee’s tenure (Hom & Griffeth, 1995), yet this employee population has been ignored (Holtom et al., 2008). Early turnover can be costly, as investments in employees are not typically realized until they have been with an organization for at least six months. As a preventative measure, scholars have suggested identifying applicants with turnover propensities prior to organizational entry (Barrick & Zimmerman, 2005). For instance, applicants have pre-existing attitudes and intentions that are indicative of turnover (Hom & Griffeth, 1995), such as desire for the position and advanced quitting plans (Hom & Griffeth, 1995; Lee & Mitchell, 1994; Maertz & Campion, 2004). Future research should explore both individual differences and contextual factors that cause newcomers to leave soon after joining an organization.
Employees who leave their organizations and return at a later date - so-called boomerang employees - are a unique population. This group has received very little attention in the turnover literature, despite the prevalence of this hiring strategy (Shipp, Furst-Holloway, Harris & Rosen, 2014) and evidence suggesting that boomerangs tend to stay on the job longer and perform well on return, particularly those who initiated their own departure and performed well before leaving the organization (Sertoglu & Berkowitch, 2002; Swider, Liu, Harris & Gardner, 2015). A focus on this population can help organizations understand not only what drives employees to leave, but what compels them to return. For instance, Shipp and colleagues’ (2014) examination of re-hires revealed that when these individuals decided to leave they had more often formed a plan for what to do after leaving the job (e.g., pregnancy, going to graduate school, pursuing a specific career goal) than those who quit and never returned. These findings imply that when employees leave for planned personal reasons, rather than because of negative work experiences, employers may be able to influence them to stay. Future research on boomerangs could reveal whether such strategies are effective.