We are shaping the landscape. Take a look at the films from our 'Hidden Talent Action Tank' with colleagues from organisations including EY, Accenture, Whitbread, O2 and Avanade.

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Jessica Chivers opens the 'Action Tank'.

Andrea Jones from O2 on their returner program.

Els Hol-Ferman, Talent Acquisition Director, on diversity at Avanade.

Shape the Landscape


The research tells us line managers play a vital role in helping carer breakers make a smooth return to work. Because of this, our work falls into two camps: ʻsupport the personʼ (workshops for returners and 1:1 coaching) and ʻshape the cultureʼ activities aimed at line managers. They go together like jam and cream – one is good without the other but the result is much better when combined.

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The empowering, solutions-focussed nature of coaching sets a returner up for success but if he or she is returning to a line manager with little empathy or an inflexible organisational culture that values presenteeism, the impact is reduced.

Our culture-shaping solutions make it easy and clear for busy practitioner-line managers to keep, support and stretch their returning talent. 

Line manager guide – a short, sensible coaching guide for managers to help place maternity leavers in the best mind space possible before they go on maternity leave, and to help them return to peak levels of confidence and performance upon their return. Ostensibly the guide covers the needs of women in career transition, however the learning and coaching approach can be applied to any employee (those returning from sabbatical, long term sick, career break etc.). The guide can be bought as a standalone and is included in all our 1:1 coaching progammes.

We offer a customised version, tailored to your organisation and an off the peg version.

Line manager workshop – an imaginative, interactive 90 minute session that explores how line managers can play a positive role in enabling career breakers to make a smooth return. It gives managers an insight into what itʼs like to be returning to work after a career break and supports managers in their communications with those who are about to go on maternity leave. The session covers five key areas: keeping in touch; easing the transition, flexible working, performance feedback and career progression.

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If youʼre interested in how either of these solutions could work
in your organisation please be in touch on 01727 856169
or e-mail hello@talentkeepers.co.uk.

Line ManagerYou might also find the information on the line manager page useful.

Case Study

Veolia Water

Head of Talent at Veolia Water, Alina Sandell, recognised her maleheavy organisation wasnʼt making life easy for women returning from maternity leave.

This isnʼt because the managers are bad people, they just werenʼt aware of their impact and what a person who had been out of the business a while might need from them. Couple that with a fear of getting things wrong (being in touch too often with their career breaker and worrying that would be seen as harassment for instance) and you can end up in a situation where someone goes off on leave, doesnʼt hear anything from her line manager for X months and then comes back and feels like sheʼs being ʻdumped onʼ (given a big project to deliver in a tight timeframe).

Looking at this from the managerʼs perspective, he sees heʼs respected her time off by letting her focus on baby and forget work and then to signal heʼs confident that sheʼs as capable as she ever was he hands her a meaty project to get stuck into.

In response we produced a managersʼ guide to ensuring the smooth return of career breakers which was short-listed for an internal award.

But the story doesnʼt end there as Alina explains:

"To ensure that managers can embed coaching behaviours, we have also used Talent Keepers expertise in our ʻEnabling Diversityʼ workshop – providing a safe, challenging and interactive environment for managers to explore any preconceptions they might have around the feasibility of flexible working, assumptions they might have on the appetite for returning employees to take charge of their career, or anxiety they might have on the appropriateness and timing of certain conversations. Our approach isnʼt complex or academic, but then the most practicable and impactful solutions arenʼt."