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Rediscovering Stryker’s culture: The impact of returning employees

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

The trend of individuals leaving a company and later coming back is more common than ever in today's competitive job market. These candidates bring unique perspectives and experiences from their time away and often find themselves drawn back to a company they once called home.


Meet six of Stryker’s very own returnees


Kiran | Sr. Director R&D

Kiran joined Stryker directly after graduating from grad school, ten years into her career, she was ready to explore other options. For seven years, she worked in other industries and fields but realized that her connection to Stryker’s mission, the opportunities for growth, and ultimately the culture was something she wanted back in her life. “Stryker’s culture is unique, we really walk the talk, we do what’s right. Sometimes you have to leave and have other experiences to really appreciate the unique culture we have.”


Time away from Stryker: 7 years

Advice to potential returnees: “Consider when you felt most connected to a mission, felt empowered to move mountains and had an amazing team to do it with. That’s the place you want to be in.”


Kendall | Human Resource Business Partner

After working and living abroad with Stryker, Kendall returned to her home in Oregon, not sure what her next professional step would be. After spending a year exploring other options, she returned in a fully remote role and hasn’t looked back. “My first week back at Stryker was amazing. I felt like I had returned home. I was working for a new division and with a new team, but I was able to lean on my broader Stryker network for support.” Time away from Stryker: 1 year

Advice to potential returnees: “Leaving to get experience outside of Stryker provides a unique perspective that deserves to be shared and fosters strong collaboration. Find ways to reconnect with old colleagues and share your learnings. Having diverse backgrounds enables us to be a stronger organization.”


Bruce | Regional Sales Manager

Bruce worked at Stryker for nearly five years before deciding to explore another opportunity. “I think it would have been hard to talk me out of leaving, I wasn’t looking to leave because I didn’t want to be at Stryker, I thought I was going to try something fun and different.” He quickly realized that although his new company was generous and the people did a great job of making him feel welcomed, he missed what he walked away from. “I knew almost immediately that I wanted to come back to Stryker. I missed the people and the purpose behind the work.”


Time away from Stryker: 18 months

Advice for potential returnees: “Stryker grows talent. Talented people are welcome at Stryker, even if they left. You’ll feel that as soon as you’re back.”


Stephanie | Vice President, Human Resources

After eleven years at Stryker, Stephanie decided to step away to focus on her growing family. “I didn’t leave Stryker to go to another employer. I left because I needed to spend time focusing on my personal life. I love that Stryker respected that choice and kept the bridge open to me when the time was right to return.” Following her parental leave, Stephanie stepped away from the workforce for almost a year to dedicate more time to transitioning into motherhood and settling into her new identity. When Stephanie was ready to return –Stryker was ready for her. “My first week back was amazing, I received so many warm welcomes and exciting updates. It felt like coming home.”


Time away from Stryker: 1 year

Advice to potential returnees: “Stryker is a special place that provides amazing support...whether that is to go back to school, take specialized courses, create a development plan, and have an adventurous career contributing to a very compelling mission. The company allows you to explore different opportunities whether that be divisions, geographies, functions, etc. to continue learning and stay challenged."


Sarah | Director, Business Development

Sarah had worked at Stryker for seven years before feeling like she ran out of opportunities for growth. She had already done every other role that interested her and was qualified for. Her desire to step out of her comfort zone and try something different led her to a supply chain role at one of the largest tech companies in the world. Although she was growing professionally, she craved the ‘people first’ culture she had experienced at Stryker. “Even though working in a huge tech company came with great benefits and perks, for me, they did not compare to the family-like culture I had always experienced at Stryker. I never thought I’d be a boomerang when I left Stryker. But when the opportunity to come back presented itself, I took it! And 9 years later, I’m so glad I did. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made – both personally and professionally.”


Time away from Stryker: 18 months

Advice to potential returnees: “Stryker's 'people first' culture really sets us apart from other large corporations out there. So it's no surprise that when an employee chooses to leave Stryker, they often find that the grass is not always greener on the other side. If someone is considering returning to Stryker after leaving the company, my advice is to make a pros and cons list and be honest with themselves on why they chose to leave and what would be different for them if they chose to return. Self-reflection is critical to determining whether coming back to Stryker would be a good career move.”


Nathan | Regional Sales Manager

After a dozen years with Stryker, Nathan was given the opportunity to be an equity shareholder in a small business that was “poised to grow”. Being offered the title of VP of Sales was too attractive of an offer to pass up. After a few years, a former colleague at Stryker asked him if he was really happy in his professional life, and he realized he wasn’t. He missed being part of something larger than a sale, “I came back to Stryker for the mission. I wanted the compensation to be the byproduct of a fulfilling job well done. I chased that for three years, and I felt like the chase was finally over when I returned to Stryker.


Time away from Stryker: 3 years

Advice to potential returnees: “Know your why. From my experience, nobody is going to hold chasing dreams or what you consider a better opportunity against you. That said, if you are interested in coming back, be able to explain your reasons for leaving and clearly describe the authentic reasons for returning and be committed to a long-term career at Stryker upon your return.”


Our culture sets us apart

A common theme shared by Stryker’s returning employees is how our culture impacted their decision to return. Our commitment to our mission, the emphasis on talent development, the sense of belonging and support, and the ability to reinvent careers are key differentiators in what makes Stryker different than anywhere else.


As Stryker continues to embrace return-hires, it creates an environment that fosters collaboration, growth, and success for both the individuals and the organization as a whole. If you’re considering coming back, now is the time to act.


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