Have you heard about “boomerang employees”? The phenomenon of workers returning to their previous jobs is a burgeoning trend…and it’s surprisingly good for business.
Why they leave, why they return…and why they’re hired back
Even the most excellent organizations lose employees to other companies, or other growth opportunities capture their interest. Many of these employees believe the “grass is greener” elsewhere, but soon become disappointed. They find their new work environment is not as supportive, the corporate culture not aligned with their vision, or they just don’t click with their new colleagues. In short, they miss their old jobs – and want them back.
Why would companies hire back these workers? In his article, Boomerang Employees: Hiring Backwards, Ira S. Wolfe of Success Performance Systems, points out:
- They have a history with the company, but bring a fresh, new perspective
- They’ve learned new skills and strategies in a different setting
- They’ve made new contacts and expanded their professional network
But the best reason to “hire backwards” is….
Retreads have a new-found appreciation for their previous employer. To borrow a lyric from the old Joni Mitchell song: “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”.
Case in point: Landry & Kling
June 1 marks the 30 year anniversary of Landry & King Cruise Events. The company’s success is based on a history of creating extraordinary experiences and lasting relationships with clients, partners, cruise lines, suppliers… and employees.
Landry & Kling’s open door” policy has resulted in the rehiring of several employees who had previously “jumped ship” to explore new horizons. In fact, nearly 20% of their full-time staff are boomerangs! All are happy to be back onboard with the team. Here are their stories:
Karyn Altman, VP Business Development
The old days: Karen began her career with Landry & Kling in the “pre-email” era – 1990. After nearly a decade working for an incentive travel company in Boston, she bid goodbye to cold winters and relocated to Miami, the “cruise capital of the world”, to become L&K’s Director of Sales.
What happened: In 1995, Karyn’s focus shifted once more to land programs, and she accepted an offer to work remotely for McGettigan Parters. Next was an eight-year stint at Starcite, one of the first online site selection/sourcing companies. Unbelievably, during this time, she also managed her own marketing and production company! But Karyn missed the cruise industry as well as the camaraderie of an office environment. In 2007, she ran into Jo Kling at a trade show, and was intrigued to hear about a revolutionary new project in development – Seasite.com.
What it’s like now: Karyn happily re-joined the company in 2008 as part of the executive team launching Seasite.com. Her role as VP of Business Development for Landry & Kling and Seasite now includes building relationships with cruise line partners and suppliers, introducing Seasite to meeting professionals and group cruise buyers, and even helping to facilitate rock legend cruises!
Why Karyn’s happy to be back onboard: Karyn’s wearing two hats these days, representing both Landry & Kling and Seasite – and she couldn’t be happier. She says “This is the perfect position for me – it combines my passion for cruising with technology, marketing, and sales. I love that I can offer clients a range of services and products – from DIY Seasite.com to Landry & Kling’s custom cruise logistics.”
Maureen McKeon, Web Content Editor
The old days: Maureen is a two-time L&K boomerang. She first came onboard in 1994 as a proposal writer, and had no intention of leaving until she received an offer in 1999 she couldn’t refuse: an opportunity to live, work and travel in China with her brother, a foreign service officer.
What happened: During her four months in China, Maureen kept in touch with the L&K team through postcards and letters. Shortly after returning to the U.S., her old position became available again, and Maureen was happy to resume her old position as a proposal writer. But the story doesn’t end there…
Fast forward to 2008 – As the company begins development on a revolutionary new web project – Seasite.com – Maureen, a licensed massage therapist, decides to follow her dream to work at a deluxe spa. She soon realizes that the spa business is not all zen. She misses her old job.
Maureen kept in contact throughout the year, and was excited to hear about Seasite.com’s progress. One serendipitous day after resigning from the spa, Maureen received a call from Jo Kling, and she gladly accepted an offer to edit Seasite.com’s Knowledge Center.
What it’s like now: Maureen now is onboard full-time as the web content editor for Landrykling.com and Seasite.com. She also manages the company’s two blogs, Facebook pages and newsletters. Maureen has embraced her new role with gusto, and loves the creative and challenging nature of her work.
Why Maureen’s happy to be back onboard: “I thought it would be fun to work “on my own”, but it was lonely out there. I missed my L&K colleagues, the cruise industry, the collaboration and social aspect of being part of a team. Now I get to tap into my creative side, build my tech skills, and apply my knowledge of meetings at sea. The best part of my job is that I learn something new every day!”
Vicki Fernandez, Sales Support Manager
The old days: Vicki was originally hired as executive assistant to Jo Kling and Joyce Landry and later took on a sales support role. In 2005, she left L&K to work at her church, and jumped into worship planning, communications, and developing the church’s first website.
What happened: Although her new position was fulfilling, Vicki missed the camaraderie of Landry & Kling (we’re sensing a theme here!). While updating her resume in 2007, she reached out to Jo Kling and Joyce Landry through the company website, and this innocent communication opened the door to a new offer.
What it’s like now: Vicki was rehired as account manager for one of Landry & Kling’s third-party partners. Nearly five years later, she is enjoying her new position as sales support manager responsible for quotes, proposals and contacts. Vicki also handles small group sales.
Why Vicki’s happy to be back onboard: “I feel like I’ve come home! I love the team, and Jo & Joyce are awesome. I’ve had opportunities to visit places and see things most people only dream about, like the Pyramids in Egypt, the Acropolis in Athens and the Coliseum in Rome. I value my relationships with clients and industry partners, and can’t imagine doing anything else – it’s too much fun!”
Vilma Moutsatsos, Manager Cruise Events
The old days: Vilma began her L&K career as liaison for the Jacksonville Super Bowl back in 2005, and a year later, returned as a full-time Project Manager.
What happened: In 2008, Vilma left the company to work at Seabourn – the lure of a luxury cruise line proved too irresistible to resist! Vilma began to miss the “Landry & Kling family and small company atmosphere”, so immediately set her sights on returning when Seabourn announced the company headquarters was moving to Seattle.
What it’s like now: Vilma came back onboard as a contract Program Manager, with the option to work full-time when a position became available. It did – but in two departments, Operations and Sales. Vilma gladly donned two hats and is now Manager, Cruise Events, as as well as Sales Support Manager. The insight gained from her experience with ship operations is now a huge asset for both positions.
Why Vilma’s happy to be back onboard: “I’m happy to be back working with a great team of people. I appreciate the overall closeness and flexibility we all have to support one another with one end in mind – amazing cruise events!”
And last, but certainly not least…we liked to introduce you to one more L&K Boomerang…
Jo Kling, Landry & Kling Co-founder and Ceo
The Old Days: Jo knew Joyce Landry from their days working together at Holland America Line in New York City. In 1982, they founded Landry & Kling Inc., to specialize in meetings at sea for corporations, incentive groups, conferences, and all kinds of groups. Jo and Joyce started their venture in New York City, and in 1988, relocated to Miami, “Cruise Capital of the World”. Ten years later, Travel Services International (TSI) – a publicly traded company – made an offer they couldn’t refuse. TSI acquired Landry & Kling to function as the group office for 15 major retail cruise agencies. Jo and Joyce saw this as a way to grow the company.
Jo picks up the story from here:
What happened: ”In July of 2000, Ken Trippe, founder of CruiseMatch and my husband, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. His wish was to relocate to our home in Vero Beach FL, where we had just bought a house for the future. So I resigned my role at L&K and we moved 140 miles north of Miami to focus on Ken’s treatment. Sadly, he lost his valiant battle a year and a half later.
“After his death, Joyce and I started talking about what was happening with L&K, because the growth we had envisioned was interrupted by the bursting dot.com bubble. That led to our decision to buy back the company in 2005 and grow it through technology – which in turn led to the development of Seasite.com, launched in 2009 – so actually, Landry & Kling is a boomerang too.”
What It’s Like Now (and why Jo’s happy to be back onboard): “I’m happy to be back in the saddle… and there’s never a dull moment! There are many new opportunities, including renewed interest in theme cruises, which we’d started in the mid-90’s. We are also expanding our partnerships with hotel sourcing companies and other 3rd parties who want to offer cruises but don’t feel confident in the cruise sector.
“It’s a wonderful feeling that our specialization has come to be in so much demand, helping us to fulfill our vision of bringing cruises into the mainstream of the meetings industry as a desirable event venue.”