How to Handle Employees Re-entering the Workforce

Nowadays, it is very common for employees to take a leave of absence from their career, but reentering has hurdles of its own. Some leave the workforce to have children, raise their families, or care for sick family members. It can be a challenge for these employees to return to the workforce as their direct experience may seem out of date with ever changing job requirements and their salary expectations cannot be met.  According to Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In, 43% of highly qualified women with children are leaving careers or off-ramping for a period of time. What can you do to encourage re-entry and retain returning professionals?

Read further for tips on returnships and returning professionals:

Returnship Programs

Recent graduates and new professionals are not the only ones who need to fine tune their skills and learn the latest technology in order to successfully enter the workforce. Returnships can be modeled after internships; they are typically entry level or contracted roles where professionals re-entering the workforce from disability or personal leave have the opportunity to gain real life experience in a contemporary workplace. Having a returnship program offers returning professionals the direct advantage to strengthen in-demand skillsets, replenish their resume, and even get their foot in the door at a new company.

Encouraging Re-entry

Employee turnover can be a costly drain.  The average cost of hiring and training a replacement can be anywhere from 16% up to two times the salary of the offboarding employee. Having a previous employee re-hired can support a company culture of loyalty and reflect your investment in employee career goals. It can save on training and adjustment periods since the employee already has basic knowledge of the job duties and insights on your company culture. Having standard re-hiring processes and up-training programs can provide seamless transitions for both parties.


One of the top reasons employees leave is to raise a family. Implementing
specific plans and solutions to encourage mothers and fathers to return to the workplace after parental leave can help reduce the stress of exiting employees and acts as an incentive for them to come back to work, retaining your talented employees.