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In my ebook, 8 Creative Solutions to Overcome Post COVID Hiring Challenges, I explore this topic and other recruiting strategies for employers to attract the best talent in 2022.

Returnships are on the rise, but many employers still overlook them. But now is not the time to hold on to old habits. There’s a need to offer returnship programs and give workers the opportunity to reintegrate into the workforce.


What is a returnship?

A returnship is a formal program designed especially for people who are returning to work after a long career break. The internship is a professional evaluation of skills and experience. It may come with training courses to improve their working skills. This gives returning workers the opportunity to gain confidence and exposure to the job. Though it is true that the returnship program does not guarantee the job, it checks the recruit’s potential and judges them on whether they are ready to come back to work or not.


Why leaders should use them as a recruiting strategy

Everyone is aware of the importance of internships – it is a building block to kickstart someone’s career. Returnships welcome back workers who have taken long breaks from work. It might be beneficial to hire these people while they are still rusty after a long career break. Your organization may suffer as well if your returnship hires cannot keep up with the other employees.

The most commonly sought-after candidates for returnship programs are:

  • Family members who left the workforce to stay home to raise children or care for a sick relative
  • People who took time off to travel, earn advanced degrees, or take a sabbatical to recover from burnout
  • Retirees forced to leave their jobs due to the pandemic
  • Folks who served in the military or humanitarian efforts
  • Military spouses who had to relocate
  • People who have recovered after lengthy medical leaves
  • Former workers who quit because they were not allowed to work remotely

Today, hundreds of organizations offer returnships. For example, Deloitte offers the Encore Program, Medtronic calls theirs Careers 2.0, NBC Universal has Act Two, and Amazon’s operation in India humorously dubbed theirs “Re-kindle.”


The Benefits of Returnships

Returnships can appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Programs like these provide opportunities to people who have lost hope and want to get back to work for various reasons. It can be an avenue for recruiting workers with nontraditional backgrounds and work experiences. The greatest benefit of a returnship is the ability to broaden company recruitment efforts by reaching out to underrepresented groups for the reasons previously mentioned.

Returnship programs also benefit the company by attracting new and old talent to the company. But recruiting through returnships should not be used as a means to get cheap work done at a low cost. Recruiters should fulfill their promise to offer permanent jobs to top recruits upon completion of the program.

There is an opportunity for both recruits and companies in returnships. Both parties can create an optimal working environment for everyone. Recruitment through new strategies like returnships is more essential than ever after the pandemic.

Learn more about returnships and post-Covid recruiting strategies by downloading my free ebook: https://theleadershiftproject.com/free-resources/post-covid-hiring/


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