Caregivers are a talented and selfless segment of the workforce. Many of these individuals, including many professionals, had to put their careers on hold as they faced the challenges of providing care during a pandemic. (Working mothers, for example, made up a large portion of the 1.1 million women who left work in the year to February 2022.)
And they are now struggling to re-enter the labor market.
Audible – the Newark, NJ-based audio storytelling company – wants to rewrite the narrative for this industry with its “Next Chapter” comeback program, which offers 16-20 week paid internships to professionals with recent gaps in their storytelling history. ‘use. Of those who successfully completed the program, more than 80% received full-time job offers from Audible.
The returns are just one part of the company’s efforts to address diversity and inclusion, and they offer an exciting opportunity amid a historically tight job market. “We realized that this was an untapped talent pool that we could intentionally provide opportunities,” says Anne Erni, Audible’s director of human resources. Creative approaches to tackling pervasive inequalities in the industry, like “Next Chapter,” have earned Audible a spot on fast businessThe 2022 list of best places to work for innovators.
CAPITALIZE ON CAREGIVER EXPERIENCE
Audible began laying the groundwork for returns before the pandemic, and the first cohort launched in February 2020. Returnees gain immersive experiences across a wide range of Audible teams and initiatives. The company intends to add more returnees to its technology and other teams in 2022, and it plans to create a bi-annual hiring program with spring and fall cohorts.
Returnees must have at least five years of work experience and must have spent at least one year out of the labor market to care for a child or dependent. A recent participant, Kathryn Zaharek, took a number of years off to raise her children and care for her family and struggled to re-enter the workforce. Late in his comeback, Zaharek landed a senior product manager position at Audible, working on features that impact their millions of listeners every day.
“When you’re a caregiver, you learn to hone your empathy, set priorities, deal with the unexpected, and navigate ambiguity,” says Erni. “We appreciate these skills. And being able to meet the needs of our customers depends on bringing those perspectives to the workplace.
DEVELOP PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
The feedback program has been carefully developed, with measurable benchmarks as well as manager feedback channels. To better prepare returnees for success, Audible offers a strong mentorship program and comprehensive skills gap training in areas such as technology. And unlike traditional internships that fill entry-level jobs, returnees invited to stay by Audible are usually offered mid- and upper-level positions.
Erni says the comeback program is Audible’s way of recognizing that career gaps don’t have to be a barrier on a resume. “You can pursue your career,” she says. “You can have a fulfilling profession while continuing to be a devoted mother, father, daughter, or cousin to family members who need your help.”