‘Boomerang’ Employees Return to Phoebe

Phoebe Ministries, based in Allentown, Pa., is one of a number of organizations seeing an increasing number of former employees returning to work for the organization—a career move that seems surprising at first glance. Across the United States, these “boomerang” employees, as they’re called, accounted for 4.5 percent of all new hires in 2021—up from 3.9 percent in 2019.  

Typically, these workers left their companies under positive circumstances, and for various reasons, eventually decided to rejoin their former organizations. Some may have left to fulfill caretaking duties. Others may have wanted to explore a different career path but found it wasn’t the right fit. Still others may have left for personal reasons arising from the pandemic. 

Many of these individuals are returning to the companies they left, and in some cases, are even working for their former supervisors. The situation can be mutually beneficial. Workers are often able to secure a position with elevated responsibilities, while employers have the opportunity to bring back proven workers who can hit the ground running.  

Phoebe has welcomed back a number of boomerang employees over the years. One of them is Connie Quier, who serves as the community life lead on the Phoebe Allentown campus. Her job is to schedule and manage daily enrichment activities and entertainment for the 280 residents who live at Allentown’s Health Care Center and Miller Personal Care. 

Quier previously served Phoebe for 11.5 years as a community life coordinator at the Richland community and then a community life director for the Wyncote community. She returned as a boomeranger six months ago, after working at another company in a similar role. “I always enjoyed working at Phoebe,” says Quier. “I enjoy being with the residents and doing activities with them. And the Community Life staff has always been great to work with.” 

One of the things about Phoebe that Quier appreciates as a boomeranger are the employee benefits. “I was able to take activity director courses using Phoebe’s tuition reimbursement, which got me the position at Wyncote as director,” she says. “The overall benefits are nice.”  

Phoebe is proud to offer a comprehensive benefits package including health, dental, and vision insurance, generous paid time off, retirement plans, life insurance, and uniform allowances. 

Kimberly Metz, executive director of marketing and external relations, returned to Phoebe’s marketing department in 2020 after five years at a pharmaceutical marketing agency. Prior to that, she worked as Phoebe’s publications coordinator. “For me, coming back to Phoebe was a meaningful return to a nonprofit organization that I cared about,” says Metz. “It was also a step forward for me professionally. At my other job, I gained different kinds of management and marketing experience, and I’m using those skills to serve Phoebe in a greater capacity than I did before.” 

For Metz, the company culture was an important part of the draw to come back as a boomeranger. “One thing I love about Phoebe is that the people who work here genuinely care about each other and the people they serve,” she says. “I knew that the department I was coming back to was the right environment for me.”  

In 2009, Phoebe established a cultural initiative called Faith in Action. The program put a name to the company-wide culture of kindness and customer service that has been part of Phoebe’s tradition since 1903. Faith in Action values include Accountability, Compassion, Ethical Conduct, Fruits of the Spirit, Integrity, Respect, and Stewardship. These values, which support positive, caring interactions, continue to be the core of the “Phoebe difference” — not only in providing compassionate resident care, but also in fostering good workplace dynamics. 

Another boomerang employee is Matthew Rassler, director of information technology. Rassler previously worked in the IT department for 11 years and has been back for seven months. During his time away, he learned new skills using different technological systems, policies, and procedures. “I returned with more experience and ideas to improve technology here. It was helpful to see how another organization operated in different ways, which has allowed me to view various topics with a new perspective,” says Rassler. 

Rassler’s return to Phoebe was influenced by his knowledge that “the need to grow and expand technology was recognized and appreciated by the organization.” Phoebe’s executive leadership team is always open to tech improvements that support organizational efficiency. 

Whether a staff member is brand-new, a long-time employee, or a boomeranger, Phoebe recognizes the hard work and contributions of each individual. Working together, the mission to “enrich the lives of our seniors, their families, and the communities we serve” remains constant throughout the years. 

Reprinted with permission from the Phoebe Messenger. 

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