5 Ways the Smartest Companies Benefit From Implementing Return-to-Work Programs

Mom and child


Taylor Tobin
Taylor Tobin1.84k

While plenty of new parents choose to remain in the workforce, research shows that a full 43% of working moms ultimately leave the workforce at some point in their careers. 

This can occur for any number of reasons. But after several years of staying home with the kids, many parents feel inclined to return to the workforce and resume their careers. However, stigmas about resume gaps and unfair prejudices about those who choose to exit the professional world can render re-entry a surprisingly difficult task. 

In recent years, forward-thinking companies have taken steps to combat the challenges of returning to work after leaving for caregiver-related reasons. These steps often come in the form of “return-to-work” programs, or initiatives intended to help parents gain the skills and experiences they need to resume their careers after spending significant time out-of-office. Not only do return-to-work programs help parents, but they also provide serious benefits to the companies that make use of them. Below, we've rounded up a few of the ways your company would stand to benefit from this type of program.

1. Your company will save on recruiting expenses.

Linked-In reports that replacing an employee who leaves their job after the birth of a child can cost a company 20-213% of that worker’s salary, in addition to costs incurred by a lack of knowledge and departmental declines in productivity that often occur after an employee’s departure.  However, if your company instead makes an active effort to re-acclimate returning parents to the workplace, they’ll save on recruiter fees and will be investing their resources in an employee with proven experience, therefore limiting productivity snags.

2. “Returnships” are an efficient and relatively low-cost way to acclimate returning employees to new advances in technology and work systems.

In certain cases, parents returning to the workforce have been out-of-commission for so long that they’re unfamiliar with new advances in technology, software, and company procedures. To bridge these gaps, some companies are implementing “returnship” programs for parents seeking a return to the workplace with a goal of providing an extended onboarding period so that individuals can acclimate. These temporary assignments usually involve a slightly lower rate of pay while enabling the employee to learn necessary skills and gain the opportunity to readjust to the company culture at an educational pace.

3. Allowing new parents to transition smoothly back into office life will help your company attract top talent.

Companies that hope to remain competitive in the hiring market must promote a positive work-life balance. Therefore, if your company develops a reputation as a supportive employer of working parents, you’re more likely to attract top talent.

4. More and more millennials are becoming working parents, so it’s in your company’s best interests to ease that process. 

Over two-thirds of millennial moms and about 90% of millennial dads are working parents, so companies with an interest in recruiting this generation of employees (which currently represents the largest generation in the workforce) need to plan for the re-entry of new moms and dads into office life. A commitment to hiring working parents and doing what they can to ease the transition increases a company’s desirability among millennial job seekers.

5. Offering return-to-work programs to parents regardless of gender boosts your company’s inclusiveness, which is attractive to donors and clients alike. 

In the year 2019, restricting return-to-work programs to female mothers alone seems pretty discriminatory. Progressive companies offering “returnships” and other useful benefits for parents coming back into the professional fold often extend these programs to moms and dads alike, which projects an investment in inclusivity that can appeal to prospective clients, donors, and future employees.


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