The experience of stepping out of your work role for an extended period of leave, and then of re-engaging with your career following maternity leave is definitely nontrivial! It’s arguably one of the biggest changes you will face in your life. Hopefully, it’s a wonderful and positive change, but there can be some real anxieties too.

Typical concerns may be around the following: how the organisation and your manager will treat you and what level of support you will receive; what will happen regarding your career progression; the question of child care arrangements and your own feelings about these; challenges around adjusting your patterns of work; managing your expectations of yourself and of those around you etc. etc.

Your Birkman / expresso data can be a huge help to you - both as you prepare for taking maternity leave, and when returning to work following maternity leave. (Not to mention when you are managing all the changes and transition of preparing for, and welcoming, a new baby into the world - and all that follows!)

Your Birkman (or expresso) gives you very specific insight into:

  • what you may find most challenging during this time

  • what you have to draw on and leverage as you manage and navigate through this change

Two areas worth considering are:

  • What will be important to do before your leave: to clarify expectations, seek assurances, discuss issues or concerns about your on-going career development and progression?

  • What’s going to be most important as you re-engage with your manager and organisation following your leave? (E.g. setting new expectations for yourself and others, catching up process, adjusting your working patterns etc.)

Here’s a few ideas to get you started on exploring your data:

If you have expresso revisit your account and:

  1. Take a look at your Areas of Interest (In-Depth Report in the menu, then Areas of Interest) to see what activities are going to help you personally stay motivated. Don’t stop doing those things! Giving yourself even a short time to engage will support you emotionally and keep you energised!
  2. Look at the Stress Check, identify any key stressors and try to find ways to mitigate and reduce these.
  3. Review your Needs using the grid and think about how you can pro-actively manage these as you return to work. Think particularly about: who at work you can seek individual support from; what you can do proactively about clarifying expectations (your own, your colleagues, your managers); what practical changes you will need to make and how you will communicate them to others.

If you have a full Birkman Report you can do 1. and 3. above, plus:

  • Review your component Needs and Stress scores, and remind yourself: what will be challenging for you (i.e. when your Needs are not being met) and what negative reactions you may experience (Stress behaviours) - and especially where you might make things worse for yourself (where you Needs and Stress scores are different to each other). See if you can develop some simple strategies for meeting your Needs and thereby reducing your Stress reactions.

If you would appreciate a conversation with a Birkman Professional to support you in this process please contact us for more information and/or a quote