Leanne Meyer

Returnships: An Overlooked Path to Equitable Workplace Practices

2 minute read

I’ve led several workshops recently for organizations that are deeply committed to the goal of building inclusive workplaces. Many leaders have spoken with me about the challenges of recruiting and retaining a diverse team in a highly competitive hiring market.

My advice to these leaders is ➡️: Don’t mind the gap.

I say this because I’ve spoken with countless highly skilled executives and aspiring executives who’ve needed to step away from their careers to care for a sick family member, raise a family, or take significant time off for a critical life issue. They worry that this necessary pause means that the considerable skills they’ve built are not needed.

You can see why bringing together these two groups—employers looking for highly skilled professionals and those same professionals eager to contribute to an organization—is a win/win situation.

What is returnship?


𝗥𝗲𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹-𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲, 𝗽𝗮𝗶𝗱 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗱𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘀𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀. These adults are typically more experienced professionals with a significant work history, who may simply need to update themselves on new technology or other changes in their field. Returnships are a valuable solution, and yet many hiring leaders are not aware of them.

𝗜𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝗿𝗲 𝗮 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗲, 𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲, 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽.


2 Ways to Boost Your Returnship and Equity Efforts


  • Contact me to schedule a workshop for your organization, full of evidence-based and practical strategies to help you meet your goals.
  • Reference and use my Returnship Checklist. This checklist can help you establish a returnship program for the first time or optimize an existing program.

Group of individuals in a workplace setting above a written returnship checklist.


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