Parental Returners Programme

Improving the experience of new mothers and fathers in your organisation

Organisations are recognising the value of supporting their people at key moments in their lives and careers, including new parents who represent a significant proportion of their existing and potential talent. This is a fantastic enabler of talent management and D&I strategies, and a significant boost to the employee value proposition.

Increasingly, organisations are moving away from the perception that employees starting – or growing – a family is a ‘problem to be solved,’ and focusing on how they can help parents to thrive in the workplace. Through career returner programmes, organisations are helping their employees feel supported throughout their parental leave, and welcomed back into the workplace at the end of it. In turn, these forward-thinking organisations can increase retention and satisfaction among their employees.

“I feel like I'm actually a valued member of staff - something I did not feel after my previous pregnancies.”

Recent workshop delegate

“It's assisted me with managing a promotion with part time working and work life balance. I'm delivering on all that is expected of me in my new role.”

Recent coachee


And, although women still represent the primary caregiver and take the lion’s share of leave when it comes to new parenting, this is about dads too.

As well as ensuring that valuable talent stays in – and engaged with – their organisation, employers who address this important life transition proactively can also become an employer of choice for talented young professionals thinking about starting families.


How it works

Connor’s design experts, facilitators, coaches and project managers can help you to plan, co-design and deploy your parental returner programme. Our focus is on creating a programme that’s effective, scales with your organisation, and makes a demonstrable difference. To get there, we follow four key principles:

  • We work in partnership with you to identify the specific organisational challenges you’re facing, and co-create the best solution to address them.
  • We build a programme that supports your new parents before, during and after their parental leave, to support them at every stage of their journey.
  • We enable and develop line managers to best support individuals going on their parental journey.
  • We ensure that measurement and evaluation are embedded into every programme we create, so you can demonstrate the impact of the programme, and continually optimise it for best results.

By working closely with you to build the programme, we can ensure that every employee feels like they receive a service based around their needs.

What does the programme include?

The precise makeup of the programme depends on the specific needs of your organisation and its people. Here are just some of the components that we can build into the programme to help your parental returners thrive, aligning our approach with your policies, culture and language:

  • Personal coaching and one-to-one support delivered by professional parental leave coaches, to help your people navigate this hugely important transition and stay in touch with the organisation.
  • Group networking and workshops to help prepare your employees ahead of their leave, or before their return. A group setting helps build a community of support and allows us to deliver support at scale, which can be built on in one-to-one coaching sessions.
  • Ongoing personal and professional development covering topics such as change, resilience and networking, to ensure your employees thrive upon their return to work.

  • Line manager support and training that equips line managers to fully support their reports before, during and after parental leave. Given the importance of an employee’s line manager to their happiness and success with your organisation, this element is crucial.

  • Helpful materials including journals, line manager training content, induction materials and more. We can deliver this on or offline depending on how you want to engage with your employees.

“My experience at the Returners workshop was uplifting, informative and probably one of the best experiences I have had since I returned from mat leave. The coaches were exceptional and supportive.”

Recent workshop delegate

“It gave me confidence in my approach with management and reassured me that I could raise a topic of concern at work and it was very much important to do so too. Rather than just keeping quiet and putting up with what I wasn't happy with.”

Recent workshop delegate

Why Connor?

With over 25 years of expertise, Connor consultants know the marketplace inside-out. We have the deep industry knowledge, understanding and resources to manage even large-scale, global outplacement programmes. We also offer programmes to support individuals in other stages of career transition, from career break returners to those considering retirement.

We’re proud to be different to other outplacement companies. When you work with Connor, you receive

  • Face-to-face outplacement support for as long as you need it – our unique promise.
  • Tailored outplacement programmes that benefit the individual and the business.
  • Unlimited access to psychometric tools, as well as our acclaimed Connor career centre.
Global Software Company
Client stories

Global Software Company

Company-wide outplacement support following acquisition: 98% of employees choose Connor for outplacement over competition
Executive Coaching – Will Hall
Client stories

Executive Coaching – Will Hall

Will Hall, Vice President – Commercial, RCI EME
Client stories


EMEA-wide outplacement support following restructure: 100% track record of supporting individuals into new roles, 85% within four months.
Pascal Deleu
Client stories

Pascal Deleu

"Connor were very focused on the individuals needs of each person and within 6-8 months nearly all of the staff have been able to obtain new roles within the salary ranges they were expecting."
Matt Stevens
Client stories

Matt Stevens

"I would fully recommend this process to anyone who is going through a career transition."
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