RETURNSHIP STARTER KIT

If you are not familiar with the workings of a returnship, we have compiled a few simple resources below to help you get started and focus your search for your perfect returner.  

BEFORE A RETURNSHIP

Before you decide to hire a returner, it’s important to consider these overall questions to make sure a returnship is the right fit for your company:

  • Are you looking to hire someone for a specific project?
  • Are you interested or able to hire the returner after the project is complete?
  • Is this a one-time thing or would you consider committing to returnships as an ongoing way to hire qualified talent? 
  • Are you looking to promote diversity initiatives in your company?

You can also save time and energy by figuring out certain logistics in advance:

  • How long will the returnship last (ideally three to six months)?
  • How many hours a week will the returner work? Full-time, part- time?
  • Are flexible hours a possibility?
  • What will she get paid (hourly wage, honorarium, etc)?
  • What will her roles & responsibilities be?
  • Do you have someone who will manage/mentor her?
  • Where will she sit? Does she have a desk or space in which to work?

HIRING A RETURNER

Once hired, welcome a returner to your team  as you would any new employee. Include them in: 

  • Conferences, and events
  • Meetings with key members of their team, as well as the rest of the company
  • Education on industry specific software
  • Social and team- building activities

On the job, the right support is key to a successful returnship:

  • Create a specific, reasonable and measurable project/list of tasks to accomplish.
  • Ensure she has access to training and support for her work term.
  • Enable some flexibility within her jobs or projects so she can learn and grow during her time there.

Provide specific feedback to the returner:

  • Your returner will need a dedicated mentor and continuous feedback in order to learn and grow.
  • Establish performance metrics, hold regular check-ins and reviews on the projects they are responsible for.

AFTER A RETURNSHIP

Evaluate the effectiveness of the returnship. Questions to consider for the team include:

  • How beneficial was it? For the company? For the returner? 
  • Did the returner accomplish the tasks that were set? 
  • If not, what could you change?

At this point, your company basically has two choices:

  • Make an offer of employment
  • Develop an exit strategy for the returner so she can seek out other work opportunities utilizing her experience with your organization and  ideally a great reference too

SAMPLE RETURNSHIP AGREEMENT

An offer of returnship should provide all the details relevant to the job. Information that an offer letter should contain includes:

  • The date that the returnship letter was written
  • The name of the company that is offering a returnship program to the candidate
  • The name of the person to whom the returnship appointment letter is for
  • The statement of returnship appointment
  • The requested date of the start of returnship
  • The returnship position title
  • The duration of time that the returnship program will take place
  • The guidelines about stipend and/or returnship allowance
  • The number of hours that the returner is expect to render services to the company
  • The supervisor to whom the returner will report and the department where he/she will be assigned
  • The returnship job functions that the candidate will execute
  • The expected validity of the returnship program
Large company

SAMPLE RETURNSHIP CONTRACT

This is an agreement between (“Returner”) and (“Company”). The purpose of this returnship is for the Returner to learn about the Company’s business and to gain valuable insight and experience. 

The term of this returnship begins on _______ and ends on ________ .

Conditions of the Agreement:

The returnship is related to an educational purpose and there is no guarantee or expectation that the activity will result in employment with the Company.

The education received by the Returner from the returnship is for the express benefit of the Returner.

The Returner does not replace or displace any employee of the Company.

The Returner will receive direct and close supervision by an appropriate supervisor.

The Company does not derive an immediate advantage from the activities performed bythe Returner.

The Returner is entitled to the following wages or compensation or benefits for the time spent in the returnship. (Add info specific to your returnship offer here.)

Company is not liable for injury sustained or health conditions that may arise for the intern during the course of the returnship.The Returner specifically agrees to and acknowledges the following:

Company may at any time in its sole discretion, terminate the returnship without notice or cause.

The Returner will maintain a regular schedule determined by the Intern and their supervisor.

The Returner will demonstrate honesty, punctuality, courtesy, cooperative attitude and a willingness to learn.

The Returner will obey the policies, rules and regulations of the Company site and comply with the Company’s business practices and procedures.

While the Returner is on the Company premises, he/she is considered an employee or agent of Company for any purposes, including but not limited to workers compensation.

The Returner assumes all of the risks of participating in the returnship. In consideration of the opportunity afforded to the Intern to participate in the returnship, the Returner hereby agrees that he/she, his/her assignees, heirs, guardians, and legal representatives will not make a claim against Company their officers or directors collectively or individually, or any of its employees, for the injury of death to Intern or damage to his/her property, however caused, arising from his/her participation in the returnship program. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing. the Returner hereby waives and releases any rights, actions, or causes or action resulting from personal injury or death to him/her, or damage to his/her property, sustained in connection with his/her participation in the returnship program.

I understand that this learning experience is not employment and that the Returner is not entitled to wages or a promise of employment at the completion of the returnship experience.

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