Beginning in the late 20th century and accelerating in the 21st century, the number of workers who step away from work life for a notable period of time has accelerated.
The reasons for breaks in career continuity vary.
Family demands, especially the demands of pregnancy and children or illness in an employee’s family are leading reasons. But there are others, including workers who depart work life to return to college or graduate school, or those who—facing burnout—simply feel they have no alternative but to take a break.
But many of the reasons that justify these breaks ultimately come to an end—and, then, these individuals find themselves struggling to reenter the workforce.
This is where so-called “returnship programs” come in, which are designed to provide these workers with an incremental transition back into the workforce. With labor shortages currently confronting many industries and representing serious business challenges to some, these returnship programs should be used by employers to tap into the promising labor pool of the returning worker.
Unfortunately, as this report from India-based management consulting firm Zinnov conveys, the promising labor these programs produce are not being sufficiently utilized by employers—and this is a notable oversight by understaffed companies.
“Zinnov believes that structured returnship programs are a key, scalable, and sustainable hiring strategy, as people who have been on career breaks are qualified, have the relevant experience and industry know-how,” this report finds.
The value of returnship programs, however, requires understanding the value and employability of the workers available from these programs and also facilitating the needs and challenges these employees face as they reenter the workforce. This requires that organizations “rethink their hiring mindset and create quantifiable impacts by aligning such programs to business requirements,” this Zinnov report concludes.