Returnships as a winning strategy for improving talent pipeline and showcasing company values

Returnships aren’t a new idea, but they’re making new noise among businesses since the start of the pandemic.

Returnships are a form of internship that help update the knowledge and skills of talented professionals who have been absent the labor force a while, helping them reenter the workforce fully prepared.

And they address a sobering trend that represents a major fracture in your current and future talent pipeline.

Nationally, more than 2.3 million women left the labor force between February 2020 and 2021, according to the National Women’s Law Center. It’s estimated that working women have lost more than three decades of labor force gains in less than a year, Fortune reported

You might have seen Amazon make news recently, announcing that it is dramatically expanding its existing returnship program to hire up to 1,000 women in the next several years. You can also learn from other large first movers including Walmart, Facebook, Apple, and Goldman Sachs.

Locally, there is increasing expectation on Georgia businesses to demonstrate their values inside their company showcasing empathy and generosity toward their people, even while they’re struggling with a mix of their own pandemic wounds, recovery attempts and revenue concerns. Returnships represent an easily implementable strategy to accomplish both demands.

Mutual wins for women and for businesses seeking to hire loyal talent and demonstrate their values.

A resounding 88% of employed adult Georgians want to see business leaders demonstrate empathy internally at work, according to goBeyondProfit’s 2021 benchmark research. And 41% have changed their employment preferences based on the way a company behaved. 

A key trigger for this?  Employers’ approach to gender and racial inequity. 

There are plenty of insights available to help you handcraft your own returnship program, just as you likely created your own internships.

Think about how you might recruit this talent to a paid internship with a possibility of full-time employment offer at the end. Cross-training and mentoring will refresh their knowledge and skill with new technology, industry terminology and processes at your company. Particularly for women, and while pandemic care is still a huge and inconsistent challenge, be sensitive with all your workers about time and location flexibility to support their child and elder care roles.

And always, as with all employees, ensure the women on your team feel recognized, understood and supported.

We’re struck by the loyalty Georgia companies can create by helping women in particular re-skill, manage childcare demands and re-enter the workforce with renewed vigor for their employer’s success.