Schneider Electric’s Returnship Program: Empowering those Re-Entering the Workforce 

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Returning to work after an extended break can pose significant challenges. The longer you’ve been away, the tougher the re-entry process becomes. Prior to having kids, my mother worked in a bustling travel agency in Philadelphia. She took some time away to raise my brother and me, and before she knew it there was an 8-year gap between her most recent professional experiences. I remember when she put together her resume and started applying for roles. The constant rejections, assumptions, and bias left her feeling incapable and eroded her confidence.  

It’s not just working parents who need support returning to the workforce. Some talents are returning after completing military service, caring for an elderly or sick family member, or coming out of retirement. Despite their career gap, returners have extensive career histories with strong academic backgrounds and can quickly jump in to add value to an organization.  

Supporting professionals returning to the workforce 

In partnership with reacHIRE, Schneider Electric’s Return-to-Work program is for experienced professionals looking to return to the workforce. This unique initiative not only empowers returning professionals but also enriches our company with diverse perspectives and experiences, fostering an inclusive and innovative workplace.    

My mom never made it back into the workforce (she calls it “early retirement” 😉), but her experience allowed me to witness first-hand some of the hurdles individuals face when re-entering the workforce, which is why the Returnship Program holds a special place in my heart.  

A supportive pathway for individuals re-entering the workforce

Our 6-month Returnship Program includes 1:1 coaching, mentoring, and a community of other returners. Embracing non-traditional talent through this program not only strengthens our teams but also aligns with our commitment to creating a workplace that reflects the diversity of the world we serve. 

Key Points 

  • Schneider’s Returnship Program started in 2022. Within our first 3 cohorts, we have hosted 36 Returners to date. 
  • We have an 88% conversion rate from Returners who have moved into full-time roles. 
  • Cohort 4 will be kicking off in August 2024

My experience as the Returnship Program Manager  

As the Returnship Program manager, I have had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable passion and dedication displayed by candidates in the program. These individuals bring an exceptional eagerness to re-enter the workforce and contribute to our high-performance culture. Hiring managers have consistently reported that their expectations have been exceeded through their experiences with the Returnship Program. The level of talent, dedication, and fresh perspectives brought by program participants has been outstanding. This is reflected in the impressive 88% conversion rate of program participants to full-time roles within the company. The program not only serves as a source of exceptional talent but also as a testament to the value of providing opportunities to individuals seeking to re-enter the workforce.  

Why is this important to SE? 

At Schneider Electric, our ambition is to become the most inclusive and caring company in the world by providing equitable opportunities to everyone, everywhere. For us, workforce diversity means we have representation of all gender identities, races, ethnicities, nationalities, generations, religious and cultural backgrounds, disability and veteran statuses, sexual orientations, personal and professional life experiences, and more. While we at Schneider Electric still have work to do, we believe our differences make us grow as a company and as individuals. 

Supporting employees in every stage of life 

Schneider Electric offers various programs and initiatives to support employees at all ages, including professional development opportunities, mentorship programs, flexible work arrangements, wellness initiatives, retirement planning support, and more. We value the experience and expertise of employees at all stages of their careers and aim to provide a supportive and inclusive environment for employees of diverse age groups.  

Read more in our employee blog “What I Learned: 6 Lessons from a 10-Year Career Break”  

Interested in a returnship program?

I take great pride in being part of a company that is empowering returners and removing the biases they often face when reentering the workforce. It’s truly an honor to lead the Returnship Program and contribute to building a more inclusive workforce. I am hopeful that more companies will embrace similar initiatives, and I am excited about the positive influence returners will have on the workforce at large. 
If you or someone you know is interested in returning to the workforce after a career break, apply for cohort 4 of Schneider’s Returnship Program today!  

Open Roles are posted here: Schneider Electric Return-to-Work Program 

About the author

Author Profile

Cat Duble, HR Consultant

Cat Duble has been a member of Schneider Electric for 5 years, providing HR support to managers and employees within the SE Digital organization. As part of her commitment to bringing non-traditional talent into the workplace, she took on the role of Project Manager for the Returnship Program in 2023. Her passion for inclusivity and talent development has been a driving force behind her involvement in the Returnship Program and other project work.

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