Beyond the Resume Gap: Discover Hidden Potential with Return-to-Work Programs

The talent landscape is undergoing a metamorphosis. Rigid career ladders are giving way to a vibrant jungle gym of experiences, skills, and unconventional journeys. In an era marked by evolving career dynamics, a notable trend is emerging — a growing number of professionals who are eager to return to the workforce after a career break. In fact, it’s surprising to learn that
62% of all workers have taken a break at some point in their careers. “Returners” are brimming with experience, ready to contribute their unique perspectives and diverse skill sets, and really motivated to come back and make a positive impact. So, if the talent is there, how does one best leverage it? How do you best help Returners successfully rejoin the workforce and succeed?

The Changing Landscape of Careers

The conventional notion of climbing a ladder has evolved into a multifaceted journey filled with twists, turns, and unexpected leaps. With 84% of millennials expecting to take an extended break at some point, it’s clear that career breaks are becoming the new normal.

An example of reacHIRE’s Life Storyline, a component of the Aurora leadership development program, that allows individuals to visualize the nonlinearity of their personal journeys.


The Importance of Training & Support: Bridging the Gap

Forget the one-size-fits-all approach. Returning professionals need customized training and support to transition back into the workplace. Customized training programs are tailored to meet the specific needs of Returners, regardless of the length of their break. These programs allow them to brush up on their existing skills, leverage expertise gained while away from the workforce, and build camaraderie with others who are also coming back into the workforce at the same company –  all while tying to the demands of the evolving workplace. Collaborative efforts between employers and Returners, coupled with the support of committed managers, mentors within the company, and a community of other returning professionals, create a holistic approach to training and support.

Learning from Those Who’ve Walked the Same Path

Mentorship emerges as a recurring theme in the success stories of Returners. Mentors offer practical guidance, dispel anxieties, fuel confidence, and create a collaborative environment where knowledge-sharing becomes a two-way street. Extracting lessons learned and practical tips from individuals who have successfully navigated a return to work is invaluable for those contemplating a similar path. Understanding and learning from others’ stories and what they’ve accomplished after a break not only demystifies the process but also allows Returners to ask questions and seek advice for a smoother transition. 

Peer Community: The Power of Shared Journeys

Peer support networks help Returners morph challenges into opportunities for growth, and anxieties are met with understanding and encouragement. Imagine a vibrant community of returning professionals cheering each other on, sharing highs, lows, and best practices, and celebrating one another’s successes. This supportive cohort fosters confidence and fuels engagement, ultimately benefiting the entire organization.


A couple of things stood out from my experience with reacHIRE. One was the support that I got from the reacHIRE team. Another was the camaraderie I got from these amazing women who were all making that same big step together.”

-Elizabeth LaRowe, VP of Ecosystem Design & reacHIRE Returner


Addressing the Challenge: Returning at a Different Level

One of the realities of returning to work is the possibility of resuming at a different level than when you left. Organizations can strategically offer roles that act as on-ramps for Returners, recognizing and leveraging the unique strengths gained during time away from the workforce. These roles may not always be at the same level as when the person left, but they can provide an appropriate re-entry point and a springboard for the future.

Supporting Returners isn’t just a social good – it’s a strategic advantage. Returners bring fresh perspectives, unique skill sets, and a renewed passion for work. They challenge assumptions, inject innovation, and create a more positive, diverse work environment and employers who embrace this population demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity. This mindset shift, where career breaks are seen as a source of strength rather than a gap in a resume, benefits your organization’s bottom line and builds a reputation as an employer of choice.

The path is clear: support returning professionals and watch as the workforce transforms into a diverse, resilient, and empowered community. reacHIRE partners with companies to develop customized returnship programs that build a diverse, experienced talent pipeline. With a 92% 2-year retention rate, we know how to recruit, train, and successfully onboard exceptional talent that makes a long-term impact in your organization. Learn more today.