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Many working women in India and around
the world take a career break owing to maternity, child-care, care of elderly
family members or health issues. That does not make them any less capable or
The struggle after returning to work is not just limited to balancing professional goals with personal commitments but also about handling changed perceptions at work.
Those who restart their career often face preconceived stereotypical barriers where they are not considered capable enough to lead a team, confident enough to head a project or ambitious enough to be recommended for a promotion.
Some even feel the need to work twice as hard to prove themselves worthy of a role that they had already been handling before going on a break. It’s important to therefore bust the myth that women returning from a break are not capable.
Parna, a Senior Analyst with Accenture, quit her 3.5-year-old job to move to US with her husband. She says,“I started feeling restless after a couple of months there. So, I decided to upgrade my skills by enrolling in online courses. I knew that I would start working once I moved to India.”
Last year, she started applying for jobs after a sabbatical of 2.5 years. The first company that responded to her resume was Accenture. Parna reveals, “My interview happened while I was still in the USA and I found the interviewers quite receptive to my reasons for taking a break and the desire to return.” She was offered a job in Pune.
The support of her team members and guidance of her mentor helped her not just settle in but also start performing better. In her words, “It was challenging to start again. But Accenture provided me a flexible work environment and today I can say that I am proud to be an employee here.”
The phase of settling down after a
hiatus becomes easier with the support of an empathetic boss and transparent
organizational policies related to such employees. It is natural for women to
feel apprehensive during this period but many also channelise this anxiety into
organizing their schedule, maintaining better productivity and focus on work
deliverables and exhibiting more sensitivity towards team members. Sure enough,
things start falling into place in a couple of weeks.
Organizations today have understood that valuable employees who feel valued by the company are the ones who stay loyal to it. Women who have had successful return-to-work stories feel that it is the support of the company that matters the most in this journey.
One such example is of Khushboo, Transaction Processing Associate with Accenture India. She believes that every woman deserves a chance to restart her career and fulfil her ambitions, and so organisations that value this sentiment bring about much loyalty building among all employees. It has a ripple effect where all employees, men and women alike, feel that the organisation values their contribution.
Accenture’s Career Reboot Programme has given many such women the platform they needed to return to work after a career break. You can learn more about the program and how it supports returnees, here). Since such programs demonstrate to employees that the company is willing to invest in them, it boosts employees’ commitment significantly. Watch some returnee stories below:
The tendency to glorify the role of a
mother as the primary caregiver often made one question a woman’s ability to
multitask. In reality, working mothers often tend to be highly efficient – the
need to get back to children makes them extremely productive and valuable
resources. This is also the reason why many companies like Accenture have
started adopting concepts like flexible working hours, availability of crèche
facilities at work and options to work from home. Through such initiatives,
they intend to empower women, and have an equal workforce that reflects the
diversity of society.
The final outcome is reflected as a bunch
of high performing and multitasking women winning awards and accolades as they
continue marching towards their coveted position in the organization.
In association with Accenture
Image via Pexels
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With two post-graduate degrees and eight years of corporate experience, I quit my banking
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