What’s after the career break? This is something that confronts every mother returning to work after their sabbatical or maternity leave. We look into the best ways to help them achieve a smooth transition back into the workplace.

It’s International Mother’s Day and there is no better time than this to celebrate the women who play an important role in our lives. The history of Mother’s Day goes back to the ancient era with the Greeks and Romans – they held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. The Romans built a temple for Magna Mater (mother of all gods or Great Mother). All this was done to honor and recognize motherhood. It’s now celebrated worldwide in modern ways and the role it has played in raising awareness in societies has led to progress. A UN Women’s report showed that women have become more visible in the paid economy in recent years in many countries.

There is a serious need for discussion to spark new ideas and actions to get better policies in place to support working mothers. Almost 91% of women who take a break in India want to come back to work, but 72% of them do not want to return to the same employer. It’s now up to businesses to empower and motivate women to change the culture and policies of the workplaces they find themselves in.

Companies doing their bit to support women to rejoin the workforce

SAP – Stay in Touch

To ensure that women return to work after a sabbatical or maternity leave, SAP has a buddy program called ‘Stay in Touch’. The aim of the program is to have a single point of contact that stays in touch with the employee, updates them on workplace developments and addresses their concerns. These buddies are women who have themselves experienced career breaks for reasons of their choosing.

Amazon – rekindle

Amazon India offers employees who have taken a professional break to resume and pursue their career goals with structured onboarding, focused mentoring, flexible work options and on the job learning.

PayPal – Recharge

To bridge the gender gap at the workplace, PayPal has launched a Recharge Programme to help women technologists return to work after a career break. This 6-week program aims to promote diversity and boost the work experience and networking opportunities for returnees.

How women can prepare for a career break

Dropping out of the workforce to attend to your family’s needs is normal. The business world recognizes that women with career gaps still have a lot of skills to offer, but struggle to get back. “Returnships” are programs that some companies like IBM offer to help women return to the workforce, but this option doesn’t exist for many women. By following these tips you can prepare ahead of time to get back into the workforce, boost your self-confidence and get up to speed with the changes in the industry you plan to rejoin.

  • Make a plan: Allow yourself time to make a plan before you take a break. Set your end date and have backup plans in place.
  • Network: Keep in touch with your professionals and colleagues to build a strong support system that will ensure you remain connected workplace.
  • Freelance: Take on freelancing projects to show that you have been using the time away from work to do productive things.
  • Stay current: Update yourself with the latest in your field of work. Online courses, discussion forums, research and learning will help you return to work with a better idea about the newest technology or trend.
  • Revise your CV: Add a section in your cover letter explaining the sabbatical along with your CV. 

Driving a more inclusive and efficient working world

Balance is essential to drive an inclusive culture at the workplace. Businesses have to pursue policies to make their workplaces women-friendly and encourage returnees. Here are a few suggestions:

Programs to smoothen the transition back to work

Have you been hiring and promoting working mothers? Helping mothers transition back to the workplace after their leave is crucial. They can be offered part-time positions, new parent coaching programs etc. to encourage their return. Paid parental leave and work-life balance options such as telecommuting and flexible and compressed work schedules are also great options.

Changing roles

As the world expects more women at the workplace it becomes imperative to prepare them for the challenges they will face through retraining programs. A role which offers a good deal of flexibility and allows them to have an identity of their own should be encouraged. 

Child care

A lot of new parents find it pricey to shell out money on child care services. Businesses can subsidize or offer onsite child care services to attract and retain mothers at work, while allowing them to bring their babies to the office.

In closing, let’s not forget that mothers are human after all. They have dreams and aspirations like every one of us and supporting their ambitions is something we should all encourage. Celebrate your mothers and also motivate them with the right advice.  A break doesn’t mean the end of their career. All you have to do is have a plan, exude confidence and the organizations will notice it when they meet you.

The business world is evolving, organizations want a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Are you one of those businesses looking to up your diversity and inclusion game? Contact The Fuller Life and learn how to bolster D&I initiatives at your workplace!

+91 80500 58002/3 | reachus@thefullerlife.com

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