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Dr. Abbie Shipp Talks to The New York Times about Employees Who Leave Only to Return

There is no hard data on how often employers rehire workers who’ve left, but “it is growing, and smart companies are the ones pushing it the most,” said Abbie Shipp, associate professor of management.

July 29,  2014

By Elaine Cole

Boomerang employees – those who leave an organization only to return again – aren’t the norm, but the trend is definitely on the rise. LeBron James did it. And so have countless others across the nation.

In a July 25 article in The New York Times, Abbie Shipp, associate professor of management at the Neeley School of Business at TCU, talked about the reasons employees leave and come back, based on her research published in Personnel Psychology.

In her research, “Gone Today but Here Tomorrow: Extending the Unfolding Model of Turnover to Consider Boomerang Employees,” Shipp and her colleagues examined an accounting firm of 15,000 employees where 20 percent of the hires were people who had left and returned. Those who came back usually left under good circumstances and for reasons such as pursuing a specific career goal, going to graduate school or pregnancy.

But how dependable are the employees who returned? What will keep them from leaving again?

“Those who had left once were not more likely to leave again than those who had never left,” Shipp is quoted in the article. In fact, boomerang employees might, in some cases, be more satisfied workers, because “they knew all the good things and all the bad things and came back with their eyes open. It was their choice.”

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