How does BOAML support carers returning to work?
We recognise that returning to work after some time out of work can be daunting for many. Our UK Returning Talent programme, in its fourth year, aims to help bridge the gap between being a stay-at-home parent or carer and re-entering the workplace. It is aimed at both men and women who have been out of the workplace for more than 12 months.
What coaching is given to workshop attendees?
This year’s programme will give 50 participants the opportunity to explore changes in the workplace through speaker sessions and workshops involving past returners and current employees. Twenty attendees will then be selected to attend two full-day workshops supporting a transition back to work and offering practical guidance on focusing and managing your career search, insights into balancing work and home lives and access to executive coaching.
Do attendees go on to enter your workforce?
Over the past three years we have been able to help a substantial number of people return to work, some of whom have joined us and others who have gone on to enjoy successful careers at other companies and in other sectors.
One of the candidates from last year, Sally Shaw, is now working in the audit team here. Her time out of the workplace has been one of the aspects that makes her a great addition to the team.
“Sally’s appointment has helped to re-invigorate colleagues, allowing the team to innovate better, and her fresh pair of eyes has changed the team’s approach to communications. We now articulate our objectives in a more straight-forward manner,” says her manager, Steve Walton, head of audit for EMEA.
Why is the Returning Talent Programme important?
As a responsible business we are focused on ensuring that we leverage our resources to deliver a positive impact in the places where we work. A crucial element of this focus is our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We know that only through a diverse and inclusive workplace can we meet the needs of our communities. By introducing schemes such as Returning Talent, we are able to help encourage many talented women and men back into the UK workforce and hopefully attract some of them to work for us too.
How can HR help workers balance work/home life?
The recently published “Project 28-40” study conducted by Business in the Community states that women still feel conflicted about balancing career and family and the majority of those without children are nervous about the impact that having children will have on their careers. We take this very seriously and we are proud that we were recently awarded the Top Employers award for Family Support by Working Mums for providing a comprehensive package of support, including back-up care, maternity coaching, quarterly webinars and a programme for dads.
Are policies in place to attract diverse talent?
In 2013, the bank launched the Global Ally Programme, which focuses on engaging and educating employees about the issues LGBT employees face and encourages them to speak up and support their colleagues.
Helping to make Bank of America Merrill Lynch an attractive employer for women is also at the heart of our focus. A Thomson Reuters study recently found that companies with greater numbers of women leaders fared better in periods of greater economic volatility, and we have set ourselves a clear commitment to improve our gender representation at senior levels by 30% by 2015.
When we recruit we also ask our supplier to put forward diverse candidates, even if they are not a ‘perfect fit’, and through our Unconscious Bias scheme we make managers aware of their bias and also encourage them to think about to whom they are giving opportunities.
Do you have advice on recruiting returning talent?
In our experience, the men and women returning to work have a great deal to offer and often it is merely a case of boosting their confidence and providing them with the skills to transition back into the workplace. Our Returning Talent programme aims to provide key skills to help individuals in their respective transitions. Everyone is different, but ensuring you have the right mechanisms in place to support people that are returning to work is critical if you want to attract and retain the best talent.
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