Thursday 8 March 2018

Returner Programme Guidance - Benefits for Employers & Returners

Now is the perfect time to return to work after a career break!

8th April is International Women’s Day, with a theme this year of #PressforProgress. At Women Returners, we continue to #PressforProgress in supporting women back into suitable roles in the workplace after an extended career break. Alongside the free support we give to returners through our Network, our main way of achieving our objectives is through our efforts to make 'returnships' and other returner programmes a normal part of annual recruitment across sectors and across the UK.

Rise of Returner Programmes 

Since we first started promoting the returnship concept in the UK in 2014, the number of returner programmes has increased year on year, to over 40 in 2017, helping hundreds of women to pick up their careers. Recognising and supporting the concept, the UK government on IWD last year committed £5M to support returnships and now have a team working on returner initiatives in the Government Equalities Office (GEO). The Scottish Government has also got behind returnships, providing funding for our current cross-company programme in Scotland.

Returner Programmes: Best Practice Guidelines for Employers

The "Returner Programmes: Best Practice Guidelines for Employers" was launched this week by GEO. We're proud to have co-written this guidance with our friends at Timewise, as we're keen to ensure that returner programmes work well for both organisation and returners. Employers can now get free practical advice and information on how to engage and support this fantastic talent pool. 

We had the opportunity to highlight the benefits to employers of returner programmes and the Guidance in this week's GEO blog: Why Creating Returner Programmes Makes Business Sense

Benefits for Returners

If you're returning to work, here's why the Guidelines are great news for you too:

1. New knowledge 
You can gain a clear understanding of what a returner programme entails, and what companies are aiming towards, so you can be more informed and proactive during the application process and once you are accepted on to a programme. You can also find a clear business case for hiring returners and could use this information to reach out to companies who do not yet offer programmes.

2. More opportunities
The guidelines offer a toolkit for companies, providing practical advice for every stage of designing and running a returnship or supported hiring programme, together with the business case to obtain senior buy-in. With this free help so readily available, it’s now easier than ever for companies of all sizes to set up returner programmes.

·      3. Fairer hiring processes & pay
The report also sets out to create more understanding around the needs of returners, your varying reasons for taking time out, and the support you may require in returning to the workplace. We hope this will lead to improvements in recruitment and induction processes and make it easier for you to integrate into your new role. There is also a clear recommendation for returners to be paid at a competitive level which recognises your skills and experience and the nature of the work you are doing.

·      4. Promotion of talent
By encouraging employers to make hiring great talent their key message, rather than promoting returner programmes as part of a corporate social responsibility agenda, the guidance paves the way for you to be truly valued and respected in your new role.

Upcoming Guidance for Returners

More good news to come ... We are currently writing a follow-on guide for returners, to give you a step-by-step roadmap back to work. Once again we're partnering with GEO and Timewise on this toolkit, to be published later this year.

With all of this progress, we truly believe that there has never been a better time for women on a career break to return to the workplace! So what are you waiting for? Join our free Returners Professional Network to stay informed of the latest opportunities, events and resources for returners.

Posted by Julianne and Elaine

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