Returners are employees looking to return to the workplace following a career break, usually this is after a certain time period, so it is not just a return from parental leave or unpaid leave.
Some employers can be hesitant to reemploy these employees as they can feel that they have been out of a working environment for too long and won’t be able to adapt quickly enough to the workplace pace.
Many returners are women who have taken a break from work to due childcare reasons, or even health reasons. These employees are often experienced employees and can be extremely motivated for the chance to return to the workplace, businesses can gain several advantages in reemploying them.
Research shows that over half a million professional women are on an extended career break for caring reasons in the UK. (CIPD)
Employers can benefit from employees returning to the workplace after maternity leave or career breaks.
These advantages include:
- Access to employees with more experience and expertise
- Can assist with skills shortage
- Increases the number of women in an organisation supporting gender and age diversity. It helps to have more women in senior roles to help with the gender pay gap
- Be an employer of choice as employees can see that as an employer you are open to supporting all employees
As well as women, a lot of men also request to take breaks from work for caring responsibilities and can struggle to find employers and jobs that suit these requirements. Many of the above advantages apply when reemploying a male returner.
Returners to the workplace
Returners often take a career break due to requiring flexibility with their personal needs, so when they are looking to return to the workplace they often still require flexible working options.
Employers must look at the types of flexible working they can offer not only to returners but to all employees.
What do returners want?
If employers know and understand what employees returning to the workplace are looking for and need, they can arrange working practices to suit both parties.
Things returner employees look for from an employer include:
- Flexibility, allowing a better balance between work and other responsibilities
- Financial reward, in line with their skills and experience
- Identity and purpose
- To be able to fulfil their own personal and professional ambitions
- Social interaction with colleagues
- Training and development opportunities to learn new skills and refresh previous skills
- Support to get back into the workplace and build confidence
Parent returners will have specific needs depending on their circumstances, these can include things such as:
- The need to balance income earned with any childcare costs they will incur when returning to work
- Increased flexibility that can work around the needs of their family, such as being available for school pick-up times and different working patterns during the school holidays
It is important that employers are clear on the different flexibility options they are prepared to offer employees, this will help to attract returners to the workplace, and other employees too.
Ways in which to create a more flexible culture
Ways in which employers can create a flexible culture in the workplace include:
- During the interview process, discuss the flexibility options with candidates so that they are aware they are there.
- Ensure all employees know they have an opportunity to discuss their flexible working options and that this is open to all employees, not just mothers and fathers
- Ensure you have good channels for communication, if an employee is out of the office or not at work on a certain day they should still receive key communication.
- Share details of your inclusive policies and benefits.
- Use social media to promote any opportunities not just the company website.
If you would like more information on supporting Returners or Flexible working or information on any HR topic please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org