How to Build a Happy, High-Performing In-house Leave Team

June 20, 2023

More employers every day are choosing to manage FMLA with their in-house team. A 2021 survey shows that 45% of companies are insourcing leave management while 32% are co-sourcing and 24% are outsourcing. Managing FMLA with your own HR team no longer means manual processes filled with errors, wasted time, and compliance risk. With purpose-built leave management software, you can ensure that your leave team has the tools they need to be successful.

Over the past 10 years, we have partnered with more than 200 companies to streamline and personalize their in-house leave programs. During that time, we have learned a lot about how to build a new in-house leave and accommodations team. In this article, we dive into the process of setting your new team up for success. If you are considering insourcing your leave program, we invite you to check out our guide and workbook: An HR Leader’s Guide to Building an Insourced Leave and Accommodations Program.

Understand Your Why

Organizations have many reasons to bring their leave program in-house or look for better tools for their existing leave team. For some, they want to provide a better and more personalized employee experience. Others may be looking to improve compliance. The most common goals that motivate organizations to move away from outsourcing include:

  • Improve the employee experience
  • Personalize the leave and accommodation experience
  • Better manage the interaction between leave and accommodations
  • Drive operational efficiency
  • Improve compliance
  • Better access to organizational data

Knowing your key priorities for your leave program will help align your team with specific goals. Having clear goals in mind can help you make better decisions down the road. We recommend getting both your HR team and leadership team together to determine what goals are more important, and why you have ultimately decided to build an in-house leave team

To get more ideas visit: Six Signs Your Organization is Ready to Insource Leave and Accommodations Management

Organize Your In-House Team

Once you know your goals, the next step is taking a closer look at how your new in-house leave team is going to function. It is important to first consider your team’s current state. What resources do you already have in place, and what will you need to add or change.

To get your team ready for insourcing you leave program, you should consider the following questions:

  • How many team members will you need?
  • Are there any skill gaps on your existing team?
  • What will your reporting structure be?

To gain clarity and answer these essential questions, create an org chart that outlines your team’s current structure. This can serve as a starting point and can be analyzed for gaps along the way. Based on the insights gained from the chart, you may discover that you need to hire new team members or define existing roles. Make sure to give yourself time to make these changes. Throughout the process keep in mind that leave management technology can streamline your team’s workload, and team members may get 66% of their time back.

Make sure you keep your existing team informed of any planned changes. This will keep everyone aligned and foster a sense of inclusivity among team members. By maintaining open communications channels, everyone will remain on the same page and can begin working towards shared goals.

Set Clear Goals

Once your team structure is in place, you’ll want to set up meeting cadences or team check-ins to ensure your team feels supported. These meetings can also be a great time to review metrics and measurements that can be set for each employee. These metrics are meant to help employees focus and feel supported in personal goals while also reflecting a piece of the overall team goal. A great way to measure these metrics is by using a leave technology that gives you access to pivotal insights about your leave program. Some key data points that you can track using insights include:

  • Number of cases completed by each leave manager
  • Length of each case
  • Case types
  • Ideal workload

Train Your Team

Training both your leave team and your employees on your new leave process is pivotal to the success of your new leave process. We recommend training your leave team first, and making sure they have a good understanding of their new role and expectations before letting your employees know about this change.

In leave management systems such as AbsenceSoft, training will be provided so that your team can get familiar with both the systems as well as the new team structure prior to going live. This will help their transition run smoother and set them up for success moving forward.

Train Your Employees

After the leave team has a good understanding of how their new roles will function, it’s now time to communicate changes to employees. These changes should be clearly communicated and easily accessible to employees.

If you have introduced a self-service portal, make sure that employees understand that this is where they will now make leave and accommodation requests. If employees are following old guidelines, redirect them to the new process. It’s important for employees to have all the information they need to request leave quickly and easily.

Always Celebrate Success

Managing leaves and accommodations can undoubtedly be a demanding and high-pressure job. Leave managers often find themselves supporting employees during some of the most challenging and life-altering moments in their lives. It’s essential to celebrate the small wins, such as the closing of a difficult case, who has the most cases closed per month, or when your team has successfully implemented a new policy. This can help develop a supportive environment for your team.


Building an in-house leave team can bring big benefits to not only your HR team but your employees as well. Having purpose-built leave technology in place, can ensure that your in-house team is as efficient and effective as possible. If you have decided to partner with AbsenceSoft, know that our implementation team will be by your side the whole way. If you would like to learn more about AbsenceSoft’s in-house leave and accommodation software, our experts would love to chat!