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Career gaps aren’t new, but workers, especially women, struggle to return to paid work when they have a gap on their resumes. As more professionals take a break from their work to focus on personal commitments amidst the pandemic, returnship programs enable employers to build a pipeline of skilled talent who are otherwise overlooked in the application and interview process. 

Data suggests that nearly 40% of US women have taken a break or reduced their work hours to take care of their family at some point. In this day & age, organizations with returnship programs send a clear message about diversity, inclusivity, and flexibility as they pave the way for experienced workers to return to the workforce.

Scope of returning talent hiring

Employers are often reluctant to consider hiring anyone with a career gap for fear of an outdated technology skillset, wondering if applicants are up to speed on industry trends. However, returnship programs have helped talent acquisition leaders get more comfortable with the idea as they realize the merit that experienced workers bring to the table. 

Returnship programs place returners into a group or cohort setting where upskilling, reskilling, mentorship and employment opportunities abound. With a bit of coaching from managers and key team players, organizations fill in the returners with the latest information and revise their skills in no time. 

These programs allow employers to minimize the risk of hiring candidates with gaps in their resumes, making the returners a worthwhile investment. Returnships also help build career pathways into organizations for mid-career workers. 

Returners undoubtedly represent an untapped talent pool that’s rich with years of experience in their respective fields. Employers gain access to an experienced talent pool and their operations benefit from the talent investment. 

4 ways that investing in returners helps companies meet their workforce  goals

In this post-pandemic world, as nearly 3 million women are looking to make a return to the workforce, businesses can benefit from investing in Returners. Why might you and your organization consider hiring returners?

  1. Access a pool of qualified talent.

In the traditional talent acquisition process, applicants with career gaps were passed over in favor of candidates with a steady work history. Constant rejection often lowered returners’ confidence, especially after being out of the workforce for several years.

Many employers are starting to realize that returners have the strong industry knowledge and keen insights. In fact, in most cases, they are highly motivated to refresh their skill set with some guidance from their managers, making them adept at identifying areas where they can add value to the organization. 

By partnering with returnship programs, businesses can onboard high-skill talent from diverse backgrounds and age ranges, especially those focused on making a successful return to the workforce. 

2. Build a culture of curiosity

A key feature of returnships is the structured learning component, which allows returners to upskill and reskill. Most returnship programs build on returners’ existing skill sets and foundational knowledge to quickly fill in the gaps around the latest trends and innovations in technology. 

Returnship programs can also pilot skill-building experiences for companies that do not offer similar training programs. Through that experience, companies’  employees will regularly learn how to apply new skills to sharpen their knowledge and impact. 

3. Promote a people-first culture

The structured learning environment does not entertain candidates with career gaps. However, returnship programs are designed especially for those who have taken an extended break from work, showing that the organization values and celebrates every worker’s personal or professional experience.

In most cases, returners primarily seek people-centric organizations that promote teamwork and collaboration and help foster positive relationships. 

4. An investment in your organization’s future

Employers –  and the labor market in general – will most likely feel the impact of the pandemic for years to come. With this ongoing sense of uncertainty, employers may see more professionals opt to take a career hiatus while another group of experienced professionals attempts to return to work. 

By investing in returnship programs, employers invest in their own organizational future, becoming better equipped to recruit an increasingly sought-after talent pool that can help alleviate the worker shortage. 

Employers, especially executive leaders, would do well to utilize returners in their workforce plans. People managers need to keep an open mind and realize that, like with any person, each returner has had a different journey during their career gap, and managers will need to adjust or communicate their expectations accordingly. 

Above all, leaders need to recognize that returners may need some time and support to get up to speed, as with any new hire. Employers who believe in returners’ potential should be able to provide that support to ensure the returners’ success. 

Taking a cue from the success of many returnship programs abroad, many executives are now willing to hire returners as they become a more known entity in this ultra-competitive job market. To ensure success, organizations can team up with entities like the MARS Returnship program, which is well-versed in this burgeoning area. 

MARS Returnship offers returners on-the-job training, valuable 1×1 mentorship, and a partnership approach that prepares them for a ‘new normal’  workforce that values and even promotes gender diversity both within their walls and externally. 

The team behind MARS Returnship is ready to connect you with returning parents, caregivers and other individuals who are both career-ready and eager to roll up their sleeves with your team. MARS is also ready to equip returners with custom training focused on the tech stack used at your organization, ensuring they are fully prepared for a role on your team! Book an exploratory call to learn more.

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