While motivation and circumstances differ by individual, there are some common considerations across the broader group.
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Employers are encouraged to consider these requirements before designing their program.
While many individuals work hard to maintain their skills and knowledge while on a career break, many value time and support to bring them up to speed. Business support might include pre-interview coaching, mentoring, internal training, and regular interaction with the returner program manager (or similar) to rebuild confidence.
Research has shown that the majority of women returning to work desire flexibility. They may wish to work part time, alternate start and finish times, participate in a job-sharing arrangement or work condensed hours.
Financial need is an important factor for women returning to work. Returners should be paid at a competitive rate, which is consistent with their skills, experience, and level of work undertaken.
Returners may have had successful careers before taking leave. This should be reflected in the program, with opportunities for accelerated development and promotion beyond the completion of the returner program.
Acknowledgment of skills
Programs should acknowledge the prior professional experience and skills of people returning from a career break. Without stimulating work there may be a risk that the returners will be less likely to perform well or stay on at the end of the period.
While technical support is important, returners also crave social supports in the form of networks, buddies, and sponsors. Returners who have previously joined the business can provide a highly valuable source of support to new returners. As well as acting as buddies, they can promote the Returner Program to the broader business.
Implement a supported returner program to recruit individuals who have been on an extended career break.
The benefits of a returner program go well beyond optics or moral obligation.