Tapping into the diverse talent that has tapped out

I can think of at least three women in my neighborhood and at least 10 women in my community who are highly educated, many with master’s and law degrees, yet are not in the workforce. They are part of a larger group of women who have years of experience in corporate America and either have no desire to go back to it or are unsure how to re-enter the workforce effectively.

Even though they have had to leverage project management, critical thinking and emotional intelligence along with an array of other skills since their departure, they are often unsure how to quantify their value since tapping out.

So how can your organization or project benefit from this educated and experienced talent looking to get back into the workforce? Sure, you’ll have to make time to show them the ropes related to your culture, customers and solutions. But this is often required for most new hires. It might take a bit longer than someone who jumps from another company, but there are ways to streamline your investment.

■  Identify roles or jobs — Take the time to identify a few roles or jobs that could benefit from a re-entry program.

■  Appoint a champion — Identify an employee who is eager to lead something new and is vested in the outcome of the program.

■  Align talent – Form a pool of employees who are interested in spending a few hours each week mentoring new people into the organization.

■  Adjust job descriptions — Create ways within the description to invite returning talent to apply for the role. Even be as bold as to add a paragraph to the job description to highlight your interest in hiring people who have left for a few years and are interested in returning.

■  Encourage your employee — Share the re-entry initiatives with friends, neighbors and within online communities. Word travels fast. This initiative could be an excellent opportunity for the community to see your company in a new light while attracting and supporting diverse talent.

■  Coach interviewers —Align questions and expectations around various backgrounds and experiences to minimize shame, disconnect and irrelevance.  Encourage interviewees to share examples and welcome varying answers which are often outside traditional recruiting practices.

■  Invest in an effective onboarding program — Augment your onboarding program to protect your recruiting investment.

As most of us know, leaving the workforce does not eliminate our responsibilities, timelines or productivity. Most of the time, these employees develop new skills and enhance existing skills without the benefits of a paycheck. In my work, these diverse experiences and perspectives create the thought diversity many organizations seek in new hires to enhance operations and expand their company’s goals.

If you have open positions and desire diverse employees or diverse perspectives, but are not ready to support an entire return-to-work program, consider a re-entry internship program. If you’re looking for help to get your program off the ground, give me a call.

JJ DiGeronimo is president of TechSavvy Women