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Supporting parents to return to work ‘critical’ HR role, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch D&I lead

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HR directors have a “critical” role to play in helping parents return to the workplace after time out caring for their children, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch diversity and inclusion manager Ama Afrifa-Kyei.

Afrifa-Kyei was talking to HR magazine about the bank’s returning talent programme, which supports mums and dads back into the workplace after having children.

The programme, which is now in its fourth year, is “a concrete strategy for encouraging talent back to work”, she said.

She added: “In our experience, the men and women returning to work have a great deal to offer and often it is a case of boosting their confidence and providing them with the skills to transition back into the workplace.”

As well as working with existing employees and providing coaching and mentoring, the firm also operates within the wider community. It invites people to apply for the programme, which offers parents practical tips on areas such as balancing work and home life and building an online business presence.

“The companies that will thrive in the future are those that meet the needs of their communities: not just for the sake of being profitable, but in creating a culture that supports a rewarding work environment,” said Afrifa-Kyei.

“It is by being a place where people want to work that companies both attract and retain the best talent. It is important for organisations of all sizes to focus on the challenges of responsible business practice, advancing opportunity in local communities through education and employability programmes. Our success depends on understanding the world as a diverse place.”