Peak careers; a worker may find themselves at their highest pay rate or offered a new promotion. Well deserved workers find themselves to have finally reached their fullest potential. What if that was halted? What if there was something that stopped the worker from reaching their peak career?
Many women choose to have children. It’s a part of life, however, this causes them to leave the workforce immediately. Many of them found themselves in the position of deciding which was more important; their career they’ve worked all their lives for or the children that would give them fulfillment. Some women are lucky, they can return to their job with the same position they had before. Majority however found themselves becoming part time, or even worse, starting at a beginner position.
And that’s where the word “Returnship” comes to mind.
“Returnship” was a term coined by Goldman Sachs in 2008. The company found that their female workers were returning to work two or more years after first left. These women would be given an opportunity, through a paid 10 week program, to sharpen their skills in the work environment that may have had significant changes since their last time as an employee. It would let them explore a new area of expertise in a familiar environment.
It gives women an opportunity to have a work and life balance. To “do good work” and feel like they were still part of a company who valued their unique skills. It debunks questions that most women ask,
“What about me?”
“Can I return to work?”
“Am I good enough?”
It’s all about purpose, and in all honesty, a win-win for both employee and employer.
For the employee, it’s fulfilling and flexible. Their old and new skills intertwine. Peer networking is also established, providing an overhaul of support for other returning workers.
For the employers, it allows them to hire people who know what they are doing. Their levels of maturity and experience are not found in younger recruits. It’s an investment tool where their decisions on hiring is on the basis of their worker’s portfolios.
The range is unbelievable ---women with toddlers to empty nesters--- employers find their workers wanting to jump right back in while others feel themselves out.
So how do employers and employees go about this? How do employees return respectively?
How do employers hire appropriately?
Don’t be scared to jump right back into a career. A study done by the Center for Talent Innovation in 2010, and then published in Fortune’s perspective on returnship, “found that 31% of highly qualified women voluntarily left their jobs for an average of 2.7 years. Nearly nine out of 10 women who left their jobs said they wanted to resume their careers, and while 73% succeeded in returning to their careers, only 40% found full-time, mainstream work.”
It’s normal to have the fear of returning back to an industry that a worker has been out of for years. Businesses are constantly changing tech and data; where even their current employees need training.
Morgan Stanley’s Returnship program is an attest to that. In their 12 week paid internship, participants are placed in businesses that correlate with their skills and experience. Upon graduation of the program, many participants received an offer of employment. It’s an opportunity to re-engaged in the workforce. Morgan Stanley’s top tips for returns goes as follows:
Know what you want
Network as much as you can
Revise your resume
List and update your strongest skills
Don’t undersell yourself
As stated before, many companies have found returnship to be a win-win. So how can companies make sure this investment is worth it? It’s a valuable way to reduce risks of hiring those whose experience and skills aren’t up to par. According to Harvard Business Review, “these applicants are an excellent investment. Using a returnship program as a screening tool lets employers skim the top talent from this pool and then make ultimate hiring decisions on the basis of meaningful work samples.” Here are many steps to creating a successful returnship program:
Keep the program small
Model the returnship on your existing internship program
Identify current employees who are good role models
Expand campus recruitment to include returnees
Partner with an academic program
Of course, there’s always room for improvement with many companies. Many companies have not found success, where they would rather hire those starting their careers young and fresh, but overall there has been positivity around this idea.
From these programs, workers have also found success in networking. The term is usually only used by young millennials trying to start their careers, however returners can also find this tool helpful. According to Forbes, returnship program’s “best surprise has been the power of the peer network. The women coming to our program are curious, ambitious, well connected, thoughtful, caring, and energetic. They provide each other with insight, support, and specific ideas and introductions.” This includes networking in the future with modern technology; Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
So where does Mac+Lee fall into this? We want to give women options to come back into the office, on their own time, and if that means working from home one day because the kids are sick from school, then that’s okay.
Our college internship, AcknowledgeHer brings leverage to a sales focus which gives millennials a chance to show their skills at their highest potential. Through this program, our employees and interns exchange current modern age with past skills.
“RETURNSHIP”; bringing back past workers into the company as an intern and giving them new skills; as well as improving their old ones.