Women are a valuable part of the workforce at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and we want to ensure they're supported throughout their careers - including when they become mothers or take time out to look after children.
All Bank of America Merrill Lynch employees who take maternity leave are given the option to have three sessions of maternity coaching: one before they go, one while they're away and one when they get back.
However some women - and men - choose to take longer than their allocated maternity or paternity leave to be with their children. In this situation, we're aware that re-entering the workplace can be a challenge. By the time children are older or at school, things have changed - technology has moved on, business focuses may have altered, new personnel have come on board – these can knock returners' confidence.
For this reason, we've launched a new 'Returning Talent programme' for 20 men or women who've taken at least three years off to care for their families and who now want to return to work. Although the programme is run by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, it's open to anyone - no matter their background and whether they want to work in banking, or indeed at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The closing date for applications is Monday 28th of May (click here to apply). So far, we've had around 40 applications for the 20 opportunities. Slightly under half have a banking background. Others come from professions such as organisational business management, IT and HR.
Day one will focus on building their confidence and looking at their own personal situations - where they are in their lives, the strengths and qualities they can offer in the workplace etc. Day two will be about drawing up a plan for transitioning back into the workplace and building resilience to help them overcome any setbacks. Day three will be about giving them some of the practical skills they might need to develop their networks.
Is there the chance of a job at Bank of America Merrill Lynch at the end of this? Yes! If we have the right roles to suit the attendees then we'd love to talk to them about opportunities at our company. The reality however, is that some will probably choose to go into other industries. For us, this isn't primarily a recruitment event: it's something we wanted to do to show that diversity and inclusion are things we take seriously.
Michelle Fullerton is head of Diversity and Inclusion for Europe and emerging markets ex-Asia. Returning Talent’ is being delivered in partnership with the Executive Coaching Consultancy – the company that currently delivers maternity coaching workshops and individual coaching sessions to the bank's employees and their managers – and the Mumsnet Family Friendly programme which develops and promotes family-friendly practices in business. Click here for more information.