How to be strategic about taking a leave from your job

Returning to work after taking a leave to focus on health, education, parenting or caregiving can feel daunting as you readjust to the job and work life. Still, there are a number of tools and approaches you can put into place to make the transition a little smoother. Wengage caught up with team members at a top Toronto-based talent acquisitions solutions company, TalentMinded, to get their take on what worked for them.

Plan it out
“I had just started a new job when I got pregnant, so I very much wanted to prove it wasn’t going to change anything,” says Emily Hutchinson, who was working in the tech sector at the time and was recently the Director of Customer Success at TalentMinded. “I set about making sure everything was always very neatly wrapped up and easy for somebody else to understand. We did a three-week handover before my maternity leave started, so the new person coming in would be comfortable and the clients knew their project wasn’t going to slip.”

Don’t disappear
If you’re able, occasionally meet with colleagues for lunch or coffee while you’re off. Emily stayed in the loop about work projects through her company’s online content management and messaging system. Shortly before the end of her leave, she had several in-office meetings with her boss to talk about client updates and which projects she’d be taking on when she returned.

Maintain skills
“The technology had really changed for me and to be honest I felt like a duck out of water,” says Laura Boisvert, now Talent Acquisition Administrator at TalentMinded. She had been out of the paid workforce for 10 years while her kids were young, and was getting back into an administrative role at a local law firm. “I had to learn really quickly and I asked a lot of questions. The law firm had a very specific system and in hindsight I wish I had taken a million courses prior to joining them. But what I learned there paved the way for the role I have now.”

Emily stayed on top of industry news through websites and other publications during her leave. “I set up Google Alerts with certain keywords so if a relevant topic came up I wouldn’t miss it,” she says. “I kept up with trends and so I knew what shifts were happening and who the big players were.” Her efforts paid off. “Going back to work was exciting. It was nerve-wracking because my daughter was 11 months old and we were starting to really have fun, but I loved being back in the office. When I came back, while it felt a little bit strange, it didn’t really feel like I had been away.”

Be sure to check out Business Connections for more articles about the world of work and career-planning. And visit TalentMinded.ca to learn more about they help companies of all sizes grow their business and teams through high-impact talent acquisition programs.


Emily Hutchinson, Toronto, On, Former Director, Customer Success at TalentMinded
Laura Boisvert, Toronto, On, Talent Acquisition Manager at TalentMinded