Monday, October 27, 2008

Returning to the Work - Nobody Does it Like Sara Lee!


Company offers professionals unique, flexible opportunities to re-enter workplace

From Forbes as reported in Morning News Beat by Kevin Coupe. He describes the program as "incredibly smart and innovative". I agree!

Forbes reports that Brenda Barnes, the CEO of Sara Lee, has created a new program at her company called a “returnship,” which essentially is “a four- to six-month paid internship for people who have been out of the workforce for three to five years.”

While the company cannot guarantee that people who take these positions eventually will get full-time jobs – there are just 10 to 12 just positions available at Sara Lee headquarters, and the company just laid off 300 staffers, 100 of them in the home office – the goal of the program is to both help these people get reacclimated to the workforce while providing Sara Lee with a valuable resource.

After all, most of the people (expected to primarily be women, though men are welcome to apply) are likely to be roughly in the target demographic that is Sara Lee’s customer, and they may bring some unique insights to the brand.

Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) today announced the
launch of the Returnships @ Sara LeeSM program. Designed as internships for experienced
professionals, this unique program aims to provide flexible opportunities for mid-career
individuals to re-enter the workforce following an extended leave.

Sara Lee created this program to appeal to professionals who are interested in rejoining the
corporate world and contributing their expertise. At the same time, participants will be able to
assess the potential for a permanent position in a flexible work environment. In addition to
Returnships @ Sara Lee participants contributing their expertise to the business, Sara Lee will
provide relevant business training, including industry, job-specific and technology education.

“At Sara Lee, we are committed to the recruitment and retention of high-quality talented
professionals,” said Brenda C. Barnes, chairman and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corp.
“Returnships @ Sara Lee provides a win-win situation for candidates and for our company by
offering flexible work arrangements on a trial basis, while at the same time allowing Sara Lee
to tap into a deep talent pool of under-utilized professionals.”

Sara Lee will be recruiting candidates for positions at its Downers Grove, Ill., headquarters
during the fall of 2008 and will implement the program beginning in February 2009. Interested
candidates can find more information on Sara Lee’s corporate Web site at

Working at Sara Lee

Are you looking to work at a company where you are respected, your opinions valued and you are simply delighted to come to work every day?

At Sara Lee, we are dedicated to creating a dynamic and challenging work environment to help you succeed and expand your career. Our commitment to innovation and continuous improvement encourages each employee to drive change and performance.

Our combination of top talent, resources and support allows our teams to produce great results. If you would like to be a part of a winning organization that values new ideas and recognizes the importance of diversity, then Sara Lee is the place for you. Why work at Sara Lee? There are many reasons to work at Sara Lee.

Let some of our people tell you why they work here… Click here.


Managing Your Health

Sara Lee is committed to delivering the information and tools our employees need to stay healthy, manage illness, get better faster and deal more effectively with a healthcare system that can be complicated. The company takes an active role in these programs on behalf of our employees, working with the health plans and other companies that administer benefits and monitoring the performance of those plans. Sara Lee Healthcare Options The Sara Lee Consumer-Driven Healthcare Plan (CDHP), administered by Definity Health, an affiliate of United Healthcare, offers coverage for medical and prescription drugs and provides tools and information to help employees be informed healthcare consumers. Sara Lee also offers dental and vision insurance coverage.

Planning for the Future

Preparing for retirement and building a secure financial future is important to you and it is important to Sara Lee. The company offers an easy-to-use 401(k) savings plan through payroll deductions and will automatically enroll eligible new employees beginning 90 days from their date of hire unless they elect otherwise.

Rewards and Recognition

Sara Lee believes employees’ compensation should be commensurate with their performance. Each year performance is evaluated against the goals and objectives our employees establish with their supervisors through the performance management process. Sara Lee offers a variety of different incentives to reward and recognize outstanding work.

Providing Security for Families

Sara Lee’s life and accident insurance plans provide eligible employees and their families with financial protection. And, if they need more coverage than the company provides, they have the option to purchase additional coverage at excellent group rates. These benefits are immediately available to eligible employees when they join the company.

Achieving Work/Life Balance

It can be a challenge to juggle work and a personal life. We offer programs to help employees balance their professional and personal obligations with benefits like paid time off, family leave and care programs, education programs and adoption assistance.

Eligible employees can receive paid time off for:
Personal Business Days

Sara Lee and LifeWorks

Sara Lee promotes a healthy, supportive work environment for our employees. To help ensure their health and well-being, Sara Lee offers an important program that can help them connect with experienced counselors who can assist them in sorting out complicated work/life matters with information, resources and advice. Employees can access LifeWorks independently, with complete confidentiality, at no cost. Services to help employees take charge of life’s challenges include:

  • Adoption Assistance

  • Parenting Assistance

  • Child Care Assistance

  • Counseling on Education and Careers

  • Elder Care Assistance

  • Legal and Financial Information Services

  • Health and Wellness

  • Emotional Well-Being

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