Accounting Automation & Beyond

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Hiring Déjà vu: Navigating “The Great Return”

HR teams are trading “welcome” for “welcome back" as familiar faces rejoin former teams. Here’s how document management solutions help HR professionals navigate the rise in rehires referred to as “The Great Return.” 

Following years of strength in the job market–with as many as 1 in 4 employees poised to quit their jobs in 2022–the threat of recession is making some who left their jobs during The Great Reshuffle reconsider. 

This has brought about a new job market trend, one analysts are calling “The Great Return.” 

Rehired employees pose a new set of challenges for HR teams, so it’s important to equip them with tools to help them keep pace amid constant job market changes.  

In this article, we’ll answer some of the questions surrounding The Great Return and its effects on your HR teams, including: 

What is The Great Return? 

The Great Return (or reshuffle regret) is a phenomenon causing employees to rethink the career moves they made during the peak of job market volatility.  

Surveys suggest that as many as 26% of employees who left during The Great Resignation regret their decision, most of whom cite difficulty to find a new job as the leading reason.  

The result of this regret is a rise in boomerang employees, or former workers looking to return to their old jobs. 

And recession fears are likely to exacerbate this trend: Fears of a cooling job market may cause more employees to favor stability and familiarity over the allure of greener pastures. 

How Will The Great Return Impact HR Teams? 

HR teams have been through a lot in the past three years. 

First, there was the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Never-before-seen challenges forced teams to rapidly develop new protocols for keeping teams healthy, safe, and efficient. Sick leave protocols, remote work procedures, and communication strategies were only a few of the added responsibilities given to HR. 

Then came The Great Resignation.  

As businesses recovered from the effects of the pandemic, they re-entered growth mode...putting the pressure on recruitment teams to fill new roles.  

Compounding these pressures was a rising rate of employee turnover. With high demand for workers in the labor market, many sought to capitalize on new employment opportunities. This left HR teams to split their energy between recruitment efforts and employee retention. 

Now, The Great Return and looming recession fears add new complications.  

Employees who regret leaving their former positions–or who have been unable to find new roles–are returning to their former posts as job candidates. This makes things complicated for HR.  

For one, they must assess whether returning employees are suited to rejoin their former teams. They must also ensure that newly implemented policies remain consistent for all employees: This can prove challenging when dealing with returning workers, who may struggle to adapt to changes that have taken place while they were away. 

How Can Document Management Help? 

With so much happening in the labor market, HR teams need to be well-equipped to handle change efficiently and quickly: And a document management system can be one of their strongest tools for success 

Here are some of the key features of document management systems that HR teams can leverage. 

Access Documents in One Place 

Storing employee data in a centralized electronic records management system can alleviate many stressors for human resources. 

For instance, many document storage solutions house digital documents in the cloud. This supports companies operating under a hybrid or remote work model by allowing HR teams to access documents from anywhere.  

Electronic documents are also searchable, meaning that teams can quickly and easily find employee records. 

This is especially helpful during a labor shift such as “The Great Return”: Documents like exit interviews, for instance, can shed light on why a returning employee left in the first place and can help to inform decisions about rehires. 

Collect Data Safely 

According to a recent report from G2, “21% of HR leaders consider HR data security the most serious technical challenge.”  

And with good reason. As employees join and return to the workplace, sensitive data must change hands frequently, putting it at greater risk of becoming compromised.  

In traditional systems, these transfers take place when paper forms are manually shuffled from desk to desk or when electronic documents are sent via less secure communication platforms (like e-mail). With any of these processes, sensitive data runs the risk of falling into the wrong hands. 

But businesses that collect and store data digitally can mitigate these dangers. 

When digital forms are tied into a document management solution, personal information can be submitted securely via dynamic forms and stored with encryption to ensure it is kept safe from outside parties. 

Limiting access within your organization also helps to safeguard critical data. Roles-based permissions ensure that documents are accessible only to warranted parties, limiting the risk of unauthorized data corruption or transmission. 

Simplify Auditing  

Proper organization is paramount when it comes to an HR audit, and this can be extremely difficult with so many individuals entering and exiting your workforce. 

But this isn't a concern for businesses that use document management software. Scanned records and form submissions can be indexed automatically, so paperless offices can forego the effort of manually sifting through filing cabinets or boxes of records. 

Create & Enforce Consistent Procedures 

While returning employees might think they know the ropes, your business may have implemented changes during their time away, and it’s important to keep them on the same page as your other employees. 

Document management helps with this by allowing you to store and share onboarding forms and updated policies in a single location. 

By standardizing where and how your employees access employment forms, you can enforce policies consistently for all employees, whether new or returning. 

Digitizing your records also helps your compliance teams adhere to mandatory document retention policies.

Regularly purging your records of documents that have passed their required retention periods is an important step in keeping your business secure and your employee data safe. But record keeping requirements vary for the different types of documents you store, making it difficult to keep track of when an I-9 form, payroll record, or employee benefit plan can be disposed of. 

In a document management solution, retention periods are configurable and deletions can occur automatically. This helps your teams maintain best practices without the burden of doing so manually.  

Preparing for the Future 

When businesses leverage document management solutions in their HR departments, they both lighten the load on their teams and ensure that all employees–new or returning–have access to the information they need.  

To learn more about DocuPhase’s end-to-end solution for easy, secure document management, schedule a time to speak with one of our experts today! 


A leader in Enterprise Automation software, DocuPhase delivers document management, workflow automation, and capture tools designed to help your enterprise stay organized and meet evolving technology and business needs.