The Returning Talent programme
Now in its second year, our Returning Talent programme was developed to help people re-enter the workplace after taking out three or more years to be a care giver. Many lack confidence and fail to recognise the value of the talents they have acquired during their time at home. After about three years away, professional networks that are not maintained through in-work contact begin to break down, making it harder to find new job opportunities through the ‘grapevine’.
Returning Talent was not developed to assist with recruitment targets and is open to anyone who has achieved mid-level manager status in their career, whether that be in finance, legal or another professional service.
While the majority of stay-at-home parents or carers are women, the programme is also open to men. Preventing the loss of these individuals’ skills benefits our company, but it also helps to bring talent and experience back to the UK economy which could otherwise be lost.
Support for employees with families
During the three-day workshops, we encourage participants to remember that their previous experience is still valuable and relevant – having children or being a carer does not cancel out your capabilities. We also help participants to value their new talents − looking after a family and running a home can require many management, budgeting and diplomacy skills.
Returning Talent incorporates these ideas and offers participants practical guidance such as help with CV writing, interview coaching and advice from other bank executives who balance their work and family lives.
We recognise that having a family is a huge adjustment, but it can make a positive impact if employees get the right support. For example, we provide maternity coaching to help pregnant employees to prepare. We also offer workshops for new fathers to help them cope with the huge changes a new baby brings. As part of this, we recognise that flexible working, where appropriate, should be an option for all employees and is particularly important for parents and carers. At our company, we offer home working and flexible hours so that employees can work during their commute or while their children are asleep.
Promoting gender diversity
We are passionate about promoting gender diversity and believe that, as an industry, we can do more to develop female talent at all levels. As such, our pan-European Senior Women’s Sponsorship programme aims to support female leaders into boardroom positions.
The initiative involves senior executives mentoring women who wish to climb. Employees feel valued and have a clearer direction of where their career is heading, as well as benefiting from their mentor’s advocacy at senior leadership discussions and decisions. This is particularly helpful to women who traditionally have smaller networks than men do.
Almost 30% of our EMEA leadership team is now made up of women and we have doubled our female representation in key campus programmes in the UK. We also conduct regular employee surveys and focus groups that allow us to understand and address some of the challenges women face.
Working on gender equality needs to be a marathon rather than a sprint. Our philosophy of inclusion drives us every day and helps us to succeed in the diverse, global marketplace in which we operate.