4 Ways to Reengage the Workforce

12 / 16 / 21 | Employers

Many people have been out of a working routine for a while. The reason for their absence may stem from any number of factors ranging from pandemic layoffs to various personal and family needs. Regardless of the reason, there are many individuals who have a recent gap in their resume, but with unemployment benefits ending on top of increasing inflation, the time has come to begin working again. The question is: How do companies help these individuals reenter the workforce?

No doubt your business has felt the weight of the hiring shortage. The struggle is not only in hiring people but in retaining those workers. In 2021, voluntary attrition soared to 67%, and since April of 2021, more than 19 million workers have quit their jobs. However, hiring managers and leaders are not without hope. We have a few ideas and suggestions that can build and strengthen both your hiring initiatives and future workforce.

4 Ways to Reengage People in the Workforce


1. Provide Specific Training.

What specifically do you want your new hires to be knowledgeable about and excel in? Those should be the elements you consider when creating your trainings. If individuals have been out of the workforce for any length of time, they may worry their skills have accrued some rust and dust. By providing onboarding courses, professional development paths, and even face-to-face time with senior leaders, companies build a culture of self-assured, competent employees, regardless of how long they have been absent from the workforce.

Amazon is a prime example of this in their recent hiring efforts. Instead of being overly concerned about resume gaps, Amazon is focusing on future potential.  “People who’ve taken a career break need to build back confidence, reinvigorate their networks, figure out what they want to do all over again, and then upskill or reskill—all on top of what a job search normally entails.” Twitter certainly focused on future potential when they promoted Parag Agrawal. Most recruiters would have turned him down because of his resume gaps, but “they would have lost on a gem of a talent who has now become their new CEO.”


2. Create “Returnships” and Cohorts

Returnships, or return-to-work programs, can vary in structure and length (the initiatives can be anywhere from 12-20 weeks) and allow companies a new and creative structure to engage and retain new hires. Training courses, as mentioned above, are more like electives in college – you can pick the ones that sound interesting and grow a unique vantage point. A returnship is more of a college major – it’s an entire program where potential new employees discover if they are on the right career path.

Cohorts usually range in size up to 25 participants, although with the increase of return-to-work programs, that number has varied greatly, but the important element is that new employees are not alone. A recent CNN article states the profound impact these groups can have on new employees: “There are lots of exits off the highway of our lifetime work, but very few on-ramps. And returnships are one of those on-ramps.” When individuals are in a support group and don’t feel the weight of being the only newbie in the room, their confidence is being built from the very start of their new role.

This idea may sound appealing on paper, but who is implementing these programs? That’s an important question! Businesses across several industries are creating and bolstering return-to-work initiatives. Here are just a few examples:

∙ General Motors created Take 2, a program geared towards professionals wanting to get back into engineering, manufacturing operations, finance, and IT.

∙ Intuit, a global technology platform, started Intuit Again, a 16-week program specifically for technology professionals who took time off for family care giving or other personal responsibilities.

∙ Microsoft’s 16-week Leap Apprenticeship Program is for those returning to work or those considering “a second act” in their careers.

PayPal’s Recharge program focuses on supporting women in the workforce, offering a bootcamp on top of a 16-week return-to-work program to create a more inclusive technology workforce.


3. Rely on Recruiters

You may like the idea of returnships, but your business may not have the time or resources to create a brand-new program. That’s where a staffing agency comes into play. The beauty of working with an employment service is that they are experts in finding the right hires.

For example at Atlas Staffing, we understand that every business is unique. No company is merely looking for any candidate; they are searching for the right candidates. Recruiters do the hard part of connecting with multiple individuals to find the ones who match with the company’s needs (whether that’s temporary or long-term staff), strengthening and supporting the business’ goals. In a way, a staffing team can act as your return-to-work program!


4. Highlight Referrals & Share Positive Stories

Leveraging employee referrals drives word of mouth and often provides a reliable funnel for new employees. Listening to your already trusted employees is not only a logical place to start but also shows you value their opinions as you build a positive work environment. Some businesses offer monetary rewards for successful hires, but companies can get creative with rewards/perks (extra PTO, points for a company rewards program, etc.).

Current success stories, relaunchers as some like to call them, captivate people with their success stories. Who wouldn’t want to hear about people like Jacqueline Welch, who took four years off in her career and is now the Executive Vice President and CHRO of the New York Times Company – she regularly talks about her nonlinear career path. Or what about Annette Rippert, a mother of five who returned after an eight-year absence and is now Group Chief Executive for Accenture’s strategy and consulting business. When you highlight the positive stories right under your own roof, you help prospective employees see how they could flourish if they made your company their career home.

Each of the steps above aid in creating both short and long-term solutions for hiring in your company. By preparing engaging trainings and programs, engaging with recruiters, and highlighting your supportive company culture, you provide a solid framework to reengage job seekers, both today and for years to come.

Searching for great candidates? Atlas Staffing can help your business find and hire top talent remotely. Reach out today to get started!


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