When employees are returning to work after being on parental leave, they are often returning to a changed organization and possibly a different role. They may not know where they fit into the organization, or how to achieve the work-life balance they need to accommodate their new responsibilities.
How can managers help?
1. Have a transition plan
There should be an open and honest discussion between the manager and employee, perhaps through Human Resources, to outline how the role may have changed in the last year. Expectations need to be communicated about what timelines are expected for the employee to return to work, and for reintegration into the workplace. You will also need to determine whether the employee needs additional training or education or if there have been structural or software changes.
The transition plan should be sent to the employee in advance with a schedule. A communication plan should also be attached so employees don’t become overwhelmed when they return to work.
2. Enlist the help of a coaching or transition service
A coaching or transition service can help the employee to make a successful transition back to the workforce which will result in cost-savings, increased productivity, and higher employee engagement.
3. Include Performance Management
Most employees don’t return to work on the first day of a calendar year, so it’s important to make sure to involve them in dialogue around where they fit into the current year’s performance management process.
4. Respect the Employee’s life change
There should be open communication with the employee about his or her life change, with a discussion of any changes in priorities. New goals and objectives should be set accordingly.
5. Have a flexible work environment
Having a flexible work environment will help your employee with a smooth transition back to work. Consider allowing the employee to work from home and flexible hours—particularly during the initial phase of returning to work.