Guest AuthorNeha Bagaria

What is a Returnee Program and How Can It Help You?

By | Kaajal A |

Companies today value the diversity, perspective and wealth of experience that returning professionals bring. Having realised that women as a part of the equation is a business imperative, newer programs and policies with flexible work options are being devised to onboard women and help them smoothly transition back into the workforce.

Renowned organisations like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, SAP, Intuit, Genpact, PayPal, GE India, Sapient, Capgemini and many, many more such brands have heavily invested in Women Returnee Programs. In fact, they continue to revamp their programs and policies to accommodate the changing needs of today’s working families.

With diversity and inclusion at the top of their charts, this is certainly the golden era for women to reclaim their professional forte. And with returnee programs to strategise their restart journeys, what more can a woman ask for?

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What is a Returnee Program?

Returnee Programs are emerging as powerful enablers in helping women get back to work after an extended career break. They are structured pathways to sharpen your skills, get experience on your resume, and revive your network — key aspects that determine the ease of a career reentry.

Short-term employment contracts with a stipend, they typically range between 3-6 months, with a strong possibility of an ongoing role at the end of the program.

A win-win situation for the employer and women returnee,  returnee programs are quickly becoming popular with recruiters from start-ups to large MNCs, and everyone in between.

How Can a Returnee Program Help You?

Well, in simple terms, a returnee program can provide you with the support and resources you need to relaunch your career. It could come in the form of:

Career break or not, aspiring woman returnee or working woman, the presence of mentors in a professional’s life is the need of the hour.

And as a part of the returnee program, organisations often assign mentors or work buddies to the returning professional. Someone who understands the challenges of getting back to work and can offer the support needed to ease that journey.


If you kept in touch with your network of ex-bosses and ex-colleagues, and also kept abreast of changing trends, then you’re at a greater advantage in your restart journey.

But if you didn’t, then a returnee program provides you the platform to leverage such experience. Through the employees you’ll interact with every day, slowly but surely, you’ll regain the confidence, knowledge, and pace to resume your position at work.

Getting Environment Accustomed

The working world can be quite intimidating for someone who’s been away, fulfilling far different needs, in a far different environment, and has to now hit the ground running with their return. 

Voila — Returnee Programs to the rescue!

Under the umbrella of these programs, you have a chance to get reaccustomed to the office environment. You also get a lowdown of the workplace culture, changing market scenarios, even all that happened while you were away.  

Low Commitment

When you reenter the workplace through a returnee program, one that’s designed keeping in mind the probable background and current standing of a woman returner, the expectation of the employer and team also stems from such understanding. They are aware of the areas that you require help on and are open to offering you guidance. 

In other words, they do not map your progress the way they map the progress of others in the organisation.

And that works as much in your favour as theirs, because you get the time you need to bridge those gap years to emerge when you’re ready, and they onboard you as an employee on the terms that you match their requirements. 

A win-win situation, this one!
Frequently Asked Questions on Getting Back to Work

1. How do I restart my career after a long break?

First, assess your current standing.
Are you keen on pursuing the same career or has your career break sparked an interest in a new field?
Then, do the math. 

Same career? Does it require you to upskill? Begin networking?
New career? Explore beginner courses? Talk to people already in the field? 

And then, go after what it calls for. 

Secondly, prepare prepare prepare. 

  1. A fresh resume with a mention of your career break and your commitment to return
  2. A confident attitude to face interviews and employers
  3. A keen eye for learning and bridging the skill gap

2. How do I write my career break on a resume?

For starters, BE HONEST. Say it the way it is.
Mention your career break, as a part of your experience on your CV.
Add in the period, specify the reason and (definitely) stress on your learnings from the break.

Employers value transparency and will most likely see this approach as a positive.

3. How do I reenter the workforce?

You can re-enter the workforce through a multi-pronged approach. 

  1. Test the market waters and assess where you stand.
  2. Bridge that gap by upskilling, even volunteering, if required.
  3. Network as much as you can so you can put yourself out there.
  4. Revamp your resume to cater to the current market lingo.
    (P.S. Add in a kick-ass cover letter to make that first impression!) 

4. Why are return-to-work programs important?

Return-to-work programs are important simply because they provide the returning professional with the support they need to ease back in, and the organisation a chance to assess the candidate before onboarding them permanently.
Your reason for a career break could be your own. But with today’s fast-paced advancements, a returnee program may just be the best way to get your foot in the door.

Republished with permission and originally published at

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