TomorrowMakers

Women often have to pause their careers to focus on other things. These back-to-work programs for women can help them transition comfortably to the workforce.

5 Back-to-work corporate programs for women to restart their careers

Frequently, women are compelled to take a break from their careers to focus on other things. Maternity breaks are one such example, where women take a leave of absence and return to work later. However, returning to the workforce is not as easy as it sounds. Work environments are constantly evolving, and keeping up with digital trends can be challenging.

Since almost all industries have gone through digital transformation in the last couple of years, several organisations have designed programs to ease women back into the work environment when they return after a long break.

Read on for a few examples of such programs.

1. Returnship Program by Amazon

Under its Returnship Program, Amazon hires candidates for 16 weeks and offers them a supportive and risk-free work environment. It helps ease the transition process for professionals who are returning to the workforce after a gap.

Amazon provides coaching and mentoring from the recruitment and interview phase and continues the program every day. At the same time, participants work on a defined plan with set goals. As participants near the end of the program, they are offered full-time roles based on their performance and plans for the future. 

If hired full-time, candidates receive multiple benefits, including health insurance, retirement account, paid leave, etc.

Related: Advice For Women Who Are Looking For Employment After A Career Break

2. Tech Re-Entry Program by IBM

The Tech Re-Entry Program by IBM was developed in association with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and iRelaunch. It welcomes women back to the workforce and offers them training and mentorship while paying them a salary. The program actively recruits skilled professionals to work as data scientists, technical project managers, software developers, etc.

Participants spend six months in the program to refresh their skills and prepare themselves to transition to full-time employment. During this period, they receive personalised technical learning to help in upgrading their existing skills and acquiring new ones. They are awarded badges and credentials as well.

IBM also offers another program known as SkillsBuild. It provides participants access to free digital learning resources and focuses on core technologies and workplace skills.

3. SPRING by Sapient

Sapient India has a flagship program called SPRING, which is meant exclusively for women employees returning to the workforce. The program enables professional women to return after a hiatus.

SPRING offers participants the opportunity and flexibility required to reclaim their space in the work environment. To this end, Sapient has partnered with JobsForHer, an online job portal focused on helping women get back in the game after taking a career break.

According to Sapient, the initiative was launched to promote diversity balance within the organisation by assisting women in technology. While creating an environment that enabled women to perform, the company also assigned each woman returnee a ‘workplace sponsor’ for the first six months.

Related: Quitting Your Job To Be A Full-time Mother? Here Are 8 Things You Must Consider

4. Stay In Touch by SAP

SAP strives to ensure that women who take maternity leave or a sabbatical don’t end up quitting for good. Through their Stay In Touch initiative, they try to remain engaged with the employee even during their break, via an ‘Amico’ (buddy).

The buddies, too, are typically women who have returned to the workforce after taking a break. They stay in touch with the employees who are on leave and keep them up to speed with developments at the office. They also address any concerns to ensure there are no hesitations while returning to work.

5. Career 2.0 by Genpact

Genpact already had a Returning Moms Program for women who took a break to focus on motherhood. Under this program, the women were offered flexible options based on their needs. The company has also introduced Career 2.0 for women who have been on long sabbaticals and wish to rejoin the workforce. According to Genpact, the program has been carefully designed, considering how sensitive the situation is.

Genpact understands that each woman has a unique set of skills, requirements, and constraints that need to be addressed. The situation requires a lot of empathy and tact to determine how a comeback can benefit both the woman and the organisation.

Related: 6 Soft Skills That Can Help You Grow In Your Career

Last words

Women end up taking extended leave or sabbaticals for many reasons. Unfortunately, many of them don’t return to their workplace after a prolonged hiatus. However, as times are changing, organisations are doing their bit to make the return easier.

Various companies have come up with new initiatives to encourage women to return to the workforce. Today, several digital trends drive the workplace, and women need to get familiar with them before rejoining the workplace. These programs offer the assistance women need to help them comfortably fit into the new digital work environment.