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The Business Case for Employer Return to Work Programs

Forward thinking managers...are you looking to make the case to your leadership about why your organization should be running an in-house return to work program?

We provide below the business case for developing and piloting an in-house mid-career reentry program, potentially with you at the helm.

Please feel free to use it however it may be helpful. Or contact us and we can walk through it together – consider it our gift to you. We want to see as many employers running return to work programs as possible and this is our way of paying it forward.

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Congratulations in advance...

If you get approval for the pilot with you as the program manager, you will have the rare opportunity to build a new onboarding program inside your organization from scratch. Not only will it be a high visibility role from the top of the organization, but in doing so you will have the opportunity to review and evaluate the components of onboarding programs for other talent coming into the organization, and extract the best components of those programs. If they meet your high standards, you can include them in your return to work program. If they don’t, then what you create for your return to work program can become the new standard for other in-house onboarding programs to use also.

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How we can help in creating your program

Consider us your dedicated partner in developing and launching your program every step of the way, bringing our expertise and experience in building best in class return to work programs with innovations and customization for each employers’ unique culture and objectives. Our structures and frameworks, templates and checklists provide an approach to program building that has logical starting points and keeps the process from becoming overwhelming.

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We are not wedded to a single approach or model of return to work program

The breadth of models we have developed and worked with means we are not wedded to any single approach. We work with our clients to determine the best model for their particular needs. We have partnered on launching and expanding a full range of returnship and direct hire programs including single or multiple cohorts per year, small and large cohorts, role based and project based, virtual or in-person, rolling admissions, loose cohorts, direct hire programs with and without a cohort structure, and event-based return to work programs.

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How we can help in training and content for your program

A core element of the best return to work programs is training for the participants themselves and the managers, recruiters and other “stakeholders” who engage with the participants during the program. We have found from our work with leading employers around the world that even at employers with extensive learning and development resources, there are customized elements of return to work programs that make more economic sense to be outsourced to experts than developed in house.

We are constantly innovating; updating the content of our presentations and how we deliver them, adjusting for factors such as whether we are speaking with managers and recruiters who are brand new to a program or repeat participants, or whether relauncher cohorts are large or small and in what time zones and global locations.

Working with employers to build their programs and sharing our deep knowledge through our extensive training are a hallmark of our approach and central to our mission.

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The Business Case for a Return to Work Program

The Challenge

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Talent Shortage

Demand exceeding supply in professional hiring, especially in the technology and finance functions

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Diversity

Lack of gender and other types of diversity in mid-to senior level roles in certain functions and industries

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Proposed Solution

Return to Work Programs

Return to work programs enable employers to tap into the high-caliber, predominantly female returning professional talent pool. This pool is made up primarily of women in their 30s, 40s and 50s who take career breaks for childcare reasons, in addition to men who take childcare career breaks, and men and women who take career breaks for other reasons, including eldercare, a health issue, military spouse and ex-pat experiences, extended travel, pursuing a personal interest, or “un-retiring.” In other words, people who elect to leave the workforce for reasons that have nothing to do with their work performance.

Plus, during the "Pandemic Exodus," 1.79 million women and 1.75 million men left the labor force*. When they are ready to return, there will be a huge bump in the supply of qualified relaunchers. These programs also present the opportunity to reconnect with and rehire an employer’s own high performing alumni who left to go on career break and are now looking to return to work.

*National Women's Law Center June 2021 Report

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Relaunchers: The Gems of the Workforce

Attributes of returning professionals

Relaunchers are highly educated, have significant work and life experience, and are exceptionally motivated to resume their careers. They have a mature perspective and are in a stable life stage. During their career breaks, relaunchers have had the opportunity to step back and reflect on where they can add the most value at an employer; they are not in “exploratory career mode” as they might have been earlier in their careers. They have worked on teams, with different personalities and work styles, and faced work deadlines. They do not need to re-learn these skills.

When relaunchers apply for roles after career breaks, they are not doing it on a whim. Expect significant thoughtfulness and deliberation on the part of the relauncher about where they can add the most value at an employer before they submit their application.

They are motivated to upskill and reskill and have high quality resources to do so, often free or low cost.

Finally - energy and enthusiasm about returning to work because they have been away from it for a while is a hallmark of relaunchers. Managers consistently report that relaunchers bring an excitement to their work teams because they are so thrilled to be working again.

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