Keeping in Touch Days

Keeping in touch whilst on maternity leave – a quick quide for HR and managers

“Should I go back?
Do I want to go back?
Do I need to go back?
Shall I work part-time?
Shall I do a job-share
Shall I get a nanny?
or use a childminder or nursery….?”

One thing I have noticed during my maternity coaching workshops is that knowing how to keep in contact during maternity leave is something that both managers and HR struggle with.  The thoughts illustrated above are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the questions and concerns many women have whilst on maternity leave.

The introduction of the 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT) days has really helped encourage women to keep in touch with work and if they are used effectively, they can make a huge difference to returners’ confidence levels, motivation and ability to be productive early on.

If you hold meetings with your pregnant employees before they go off on maternity leave, talk to them about how they might consider using their Keeping in touch days – it is a good idea to remind them of the benefits of keeping in touch with work, whilst letting them drive the decisions about how, with whom and how often.

Activities for Keeping In Touch Days

They may wish to consider some of the activities below as they come into the latter stages of their maternity leave.  We’ve arranged them in order of potential personal stress levels and commitment levels.

Low stress to individual                  Reading emails                    Lower commitment
                                                             Responding to emails      
                                                             Initiating emails
                                                             Phone calls
                                                             Social meeting
                                                             Manager meeting
                                                             Team meeting
                                                             Training event
High stress to individual                  Client meeting                      Higher commitment

A couple of points:

– As everyone has a very personal career outlook, and many don’t know how they will react to becoming a mother, it’s good not to expect individuals to keep in touch or to set dates in stone

– The more ambtious the individual, the more she will probably want to keep in touch.  By keeping in touch more (especially when close to returning), it’s a good reminder that it is beneficial for maintaining a strong network, keeping abreast of the politics, working on personal visibility and keeping confidence levels high by ‘knowing what’s going on’; as well as keeping skills up to date.

As always, get in touch if you need any more ideas:

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