While some departments within an organization are seen as drivers of growth, HR is unfortunately not one of them. As a cost center, HR headcount is added cautiously at best, and can sometimes even be the first to go in layoffs.
To make more strategic use of their teams, some organizations look to outsource their FMLA management. However, accommodation management and the ADA interactive process can’t be outsourced, so this approach can introduce complexity with tracking, reporting, and compliance.
By insourcing leave and accommodation management with the right technology, you can streamline and centralize your processes, save time, and make compliance much easier.
The right software will give your HR department the tools to make the most of the team they have—while improving the leave and accommodation experience for everyone involved.
A centralized system reduces silos and improves case coverage
Teams that are manually managing leave and accommodations often rely on an ad hoc system of spreadsheets, personal calendar reminders, emails, or even manila folders and post-it notes. If a case is being managed by someone who happens to be out sick, on PTO, or even on leave themselves, it can be difficult or even impossible for another team member to step in for them.
Let’s say someone has a question, needs to submit a form, or wants to ask about returning to work. If leave is handled manually, the simplest thing is often just to wait for the case manager to be available. Sometimes, an earnest colleague can find the answer or a form and respond after some time.
If your leave management is outsourced, this wait time can also become an issue if the outsourced provider is unavailable for any reason. Worse, no one internally would have access to the outsourced system and be able to help out in the meantime.
It is easy to see how this creates a less than ideal employee experience. Decentralized leave and accommodation management also creates silos inside of HR, or between HR and outsourced providers. These silos can lead to wait times, incorrectly tracked leave, missed deadlines, and in the worst cases, non-compliance with federal or state regulations.
With a cloud-based, centralized leave management system, you get a common location for everyone on your team to manage leave and accommodations. A dashboard listing with everyone’s upcoming, currently due, and overdue tasks is visible as soon as you log in. If someone is out for any reason, another team member can step in and quickly handle urgent tasks for any open case.
Automation helps lean teams do more with less
While there are numerous types of leaves of absence, much of the overall process for managing leave is—and should be—the same for everyone. From the details that need to be captured for every leave to standardized forms and reminders, many points of the process can benefit from automation.
The same goes for accommodation requests. The ADA interactive process for accommodations is notoriously vague in terms of legal requirements, making it difficult to track and ensure each request was handled in a timely, equitable way.
With automation, you can not only create and streamline standardized processes for everything, you can also save 66% or more time on each case. Once in place, a platform like AbsenceSoft gives leave managers the ability to manage 250-400+ cases at a time—and still get more time to spend supporting their co-workers.
By spending far less time on administrative tasks, leave management teams can more efficiently manage incoming leave and accommodations requests, while also having the time to deliver a top-notch employee experience.
Staying compliant with FMLA, ADA, and other regulations can also take up a lot of time—and if not done properly, open you up to the risk of a costly lawsuit. The good news is that many compliance-related tasks are easily automated with leave technology.
From standardized case checklists to form tracking, leave software enables your team to create and follow compliance policies easily, for every case. Even better, leave technology providers like AbsenceSoft will automatically update as state and federal laws change, to make sure your process is fully compliant.
No matter what your team size, employee experience remains a top priority
Businesses everywhere are making employee experience a top business priority, especially when they need to recruit and retain in-demand talent. Many factors contribute to making each employee’s work experience a good one overall. A robust leave policy, self-service options, and a supportive, streamlined leave and accommodations process all play an important part in making your company a great place to work.
It’s practically impossible for a lean HR team to deliver these key pieces of a great employee experience without leave technology. A fully-featured leave and accommodations management solution can:
- Provide employees with a self-service portal to make leave and accommodations requests from a workstation, laptop, tablet, or even their phone.
- Enable leave managers to pre-generate and send informative, helpful emails and reminders throughout the leave and accommodations process, so employees know exactly what to expect—and what is expected of them.
- Give leave managers much more time to spend supporting employees during difficult, stressful, and confusing times.
- Allow HR to provide a more interactive process for accommodations, with more time for conversation, research, and exploration.
- Ensure employees get a timely, accurate response to any inquiries or questions they have.
The more processes you can streamline and automate with technology, the better the experience will be for the employees—and for HR teams as well. It costs 200% more to recruit a new employee than it is to retain an existing one. In uncertain economic times, it truly pays to equip HR with the tools they need to boost operational efficiency, improve compliance, and retain your company’s workforce.
To see how AbsenceSoft can help your team improve operational efficiency, schedule a demo today.