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How to Create a Return Ramp For Women Returning to Work

Returning from Leave

It's no secret that women face unique challenges when returning to work after a leave. According to research from the Vistage International CEO organization, nearly half of businesses have no return ramp policy in place for these women. This can lead to an overwhelming and often unsuccessful re-entry process.

In this article, we'll discuss how to create a return ramp for women returning to work and provide tips on how to make the transition back into the workforce as smooth as possible.

What is a Return Ramp?

A return ramp enables women who left the workforce to stay connected and current with the company, best practices in their function, and advances in their industry. This ensures a seamless transition back into the workforce.

Creating a return ramp should be a collaborative effort between the employer and the employee. The process should start with an understanding of why the employee left, what their goals are for returning, and how the company can best support them.

Challenges of Returning to Work

Females face a number of challenges when returning to work after a leave. The most common include:

Lack of Confidence

After being out of the workforce for an extended period of time, it's natural to feel like you've lost your edge. One way to combat this is by staying up-to-date on industry news and trends. This will help you feel more confident when you return to work.

Childcare

According to the Vistage research, childcare is the top concern for women returning to work. If possible, start planning your childcare arrangements well in advance of your return date. This will help ease some of the stress and allow you to focus on your career.

Flexibility

Many women need flexibility when returning to work. This could include flexible hours, working from home, or a reduced schedule. If your company is unable to accommodate your needs, you may need to consider other options.

Tips for Creating a Successful Return Ramp

There are a few key things to keep in mind when creating a return ramp:

  • Make it collaborative: As we mentioned, the return ramp should be a collaborative effort between the employer and employee. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the process runs smoothly.
  • Keep it flexible: It's important to be flexible when creating a return ramp. Every situation is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Be open to making adjustments as needed.
  • Communication is key: Communication is essential throughout the entire process. Make sure you keep the lines of communication open with your manager, colleagues, and family. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that you're able to focus on your career.
  • Set realistic goals: Returning to work after an extended leave can be overwhelming. Be sure to set realistic goals for yourself and take things one step at a time. This will help you ease back into work and avoid burnout.

What Attributes Should a Return Ramp Include?

There are several attributes that a return ramp should include:

  1. A part-time or flexible work schedule
  2. Job-sharing
  3. Phased-in return to full hours
  4. Sabbatical policy
  5. Training and development opportunities

Make It Easier to Return

Creating a return ramp is an important way to support women as they transition back into the workforce. By including these attributes, employers can create a seamless transition back into the workforce and help retain top talent.

If you're a woman returning to work after a leave, we hope these tips are helpful in creating a return ramp that works for you. If you're an employer, we encourage you to reach out to us to discuss how we can support you in creating a return ramp for your employees. 

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Research

Vistage Research Center publishes actionable, data-driven insights and expert perspectives from our global community of CEOs and thought leaders. Led by Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer