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Help for maternity returners


Coaching and support for women returners

This article appeared in

Nationwide Building Society is piloting a new programme, provided by Return to Work, to give coaching to employees re-entering work following maternity leave, with a view to launching the scheme in full for its 17,000 employees later this year.
This new programme enhances the benefits Nationwide already offers to working parents, such as extended maternity and parental leave for employees whose babies are born prematurely, with the aim of improving the retention of staff in the long term.

The pilot

Return to Work provides a six to 12-week coaching programme, focusing on building confidence and self-care for returning mothers. This consists of one-hour coaching sessions once a week, tailored to the individual. The coaching sessions use neuro-linguistic programming and transformational techniques, including visualisation exercises, building prioritisation skills and creating habits around managing stress, promoting wellness and growing confidence.

Nationwide’s ongoing pilot launched in November 2019, with an event for a group of employees who are mothers to meet at a venue and share their experiences and concerns about returning, as well as learn and share tools to build confidence and self-care. The women brought their babies with them.

Faye Whitmarsh, Nationwide's head of culture and engagement, said

"Nationwide is proud to provide additional support for mothers returning to work following their maternity leave. We are extremely pleased to be the first to partner with Return to Work, supporting mums as they prepare to re-enter the workplace; a period of adjustment and transition when a family may need more support.

“With the help of Return to Work, we aim to equip working mothers with self-care and confidence-building capabilities to help them navigate the first few weeks and months back in the workplace. The partnership will support employee well-being and aims to empower women in the workplace following maternity leave. We are also looking to extend this support to fathers and other returning employees in the f


Kirsteen Williamson-Guinn, founder at Return to Work, added

“Nationwide is a forward-thinking employer, and this is a great opportunity to work with the business to invest in its workforce. Maternity leave forms a small part of someone’s overall working life, and Nationwide recognises the importance of striking a work-life balance that works for all colleagues and their families. It’s great to be able to support people directly with the Return to Work programme and help them to create a positive mindset.”