BlogEngaging Women Returning to the Workplace

Engaging Women Returning to the Workplace

28 August, 2023

Engaging Women Returning to the Workplace

Gender equality at the workplace has proven to be beneficial for businesses, right from profitability and market share to employee engagement and well-being. However, women in the workforce have had their share of ups and downs. The recent COVID pandemic was when many had to quit their work for childcare and other caregiving responsibilities. While things improved thereafter, the recent “Great Breakup” recorded in McKinsey’s ‘Women in the Workplace Report’ for 2022, points to another change. Women, particularly those in senior leadership positions are switching jobs at record high rates- they’re demanding more from their workplaces, like better career advancement opportunities, inclusive workplace policies and recognition for their work.

 Organizations need to step up if they’re hoping to attract, retain and engage women employees, including a high-risk group within them- women returning to work after a career break. As per a study conducted by the Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership, 50% women in India leave their jobs to take care of their children at the age of 30. Even among those who return, a large chunk drops out within 4 months of resuming work. This blog will discuss strategies that organizations can adopt to leverage the potential of these women who, despite being well-qualified and experienced, drop out or ‘quiet quit’ at workplaces after they return.

Bridging the Confidence Gap in Women

1. Addressing the Lack of Confidence in Women: Creating a Mentorship Program for Women Returnees

Lack of confidence is a prevalent issue among women returning to work after a hiatus. Organizations can counter this challenge by establishing a robust mentorship program by pairing women returnees with experienced leaders. Having resource groups for working mothers is another way to help build trusting, authentic relationships across the organization, making women feel supported through their shared experiences. Such programs can help women rebuild their confidence, navigate the transition effectively, and integrate seamlessly into the work environment.

2. Keeping Flexible Work Policies for Caregiving Responsibilities at Home

Juggling caregiving responsibilities at home and professional commitments can be overwhelming. Recognizing this, companies must implement flexible work policies that accommodate women’s diverse responsibilities. Remote work options, flexible hours, and part-time arrangements can empower women to balance their roles effectively.

3. Openly Celebrating Women’s Achievements

Acknowledgment and celebration play a pivotal role in boosting morale. Organizations should openly recognize women’s achievements, whether big or small. This recognition can take various forms, such as through internal newsletters, applause on a digital employee recognition platform, or mentions within in-person team meetings. Highlighting women’s successes not only motivates other women but also sends a clear message about the company’s commitment to gender diversity and inclusion.

Celebrating Women's Achievements at Work

4. Orienting Managers Towards Women Returnees’ Challenges

To create a truly inclusive environment, it’s essential to foster empathy and understanding among all employees, especially managers. Training managers to coach women returnees with sensitivity can help build a more supportive work culture. A formal employee R&R program with special emphasis on women returnees can also go a long way in institutionalizing gender equity.

The journey of women returning to the workplace is riddled with obstacles, but it’s also brimming with potential. By addressing the lack of confidence, offering flexible work policies, celebrating achievements, educating male counterparts, and fostering champions for gender equality, workplaces can create an environment where women not only return but also thrive. When women succeed, businesses succeed, and the foundation of a more diverse and inclusive corporate landscape is strengthened.

At Gratifi, we have taken the lead in creating positive change in the workplace, with more than 50% of women in leadership positions, including those returned after maternity breaks. Know more about us and how we contribute to digital R&R programs for organizations.

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