Personal touchpoints throughout the leave of absence journey is a subject that doesn’t get touched on enough, so lucky for you we’re gonna touch on it right now. Oftentimes a leave of absence can be an isolating and confusing experience for employees, even if the reason is a positive one. Establishing a very human connection can make all the difference during a leave journey.
As an employer managing a leave, you need to know what to say to employees, when to say it, and how to say it, in order for your people to feel truly supported in their most vulnerable life moments. Depending on the comfort level and preferences of the employee taking leave, a personal touchpoint might be a phone call, it might be a text, or it might even be an in-person meeting.
As with anything, too much of a good thing can be problematic. If an employee prefers to be texted, but their manager won’t stop calling them, that can have an important negative impact on the leave experience. Similarly, there can be serious legal consequences of a touchpoint pressuring an employee to return to work early, or to “just hop on this one call.” Employee touchpoints should be carried out with an intentional and thoughtful approach during a leave.
Employees who request a leave of absence are likely going through a major life shift. Whether it’s a positive shift or a somber one, providing personal touchpoints such as a phone call or face-to-face meeting if possible can help show empathy and support, which can make the employee feel heard and cared for.
There is nothing more cold, confusing and alienating to an employee going on leave than feeling like they have to blaze this unknown trail on their own. They might have questions about their leave, they might be unsure what their rights are, so be proactive and communicate with them to ease their fears. Not doing so can leave an indelible mark on an employee’s view of their organization, and it’s not surprising that employees who do not feel supported are more likely to leave.
Receiving a phone call or having a face-to-face meeting with a supervisor or HR representative can make employees feel heard and cared for during a difficult time. Knowing that someone is there to listen and offer support can make all the difference.
Even straightforward leaves can be confusing to an employee who has never taken one. Personal touchpoints provide an opportunity to communicate the process and expectations clearly. This can help prevent misunderstandings and confusion during the leave of absence period which in turn can help provide some stability in the lives of employees.
Their world might be flipped upside down while going through a leave of absence, so communicating clearly and effectively what an employee needs to do, why they need to do it, and when they need to do it, takes all the guesswork and confusion out of the process. Being proactive and sending reminders for everything from upcoming form filing deadlines or updates on company celebrations will
The flow of personal touchpoints isn’t only employer to employee. When employees can ask questions and get answers in real-time, from a real human, it can help prevent misunderstandings and confusion during the LOA journey. By having a clear understanding of the process and expectations, employees can focus on their health and well-being, knowing that their job is secure.
When done effectively, personal touchpoints can help solidify relationships between employees and their supervisors, or HR team. By taking the time to connect on a personal level, employers can show their employees that they are valued members of the team. These connections can build trust and improve the overall working relationship.
Perhaps you can provide company updates, or maybe you celebrated the employee’s work anniversary while they were taking time away from work. Keeping that human connection will keep employees feeling engaged throughout their leave, and ease their minds that they aren’t being forgotten about.
Of course, not every HR team has the bandwidth to provide the support needed to provide personal touchpoints to every employee taking leave, but this doesn’t diminish how absolutely vital it is to LOA efficacy.
If your HR department can’t manage the effort required to deliver the level of service and empathy needed to effectively connect on a human level with each employee taking leave, it might be worth your while to look at external resources to provide dedicated support.
A leave of absence is a crucial moment in the lives of employees and in their relationship to their organization. Through personal touchpoints, HR teams can ensure clear communication and expectations of the leave, provide personal and human-centric support throughout the journey, and help build lasting relationships between employees and their managers or HR team. By taking a warm and empathetic approach to the leave of absence process, employers can show their employees that they are valued and supported members of the team.
Tilt is leading the charge in all things leave of absence management through easy-to-use tech and human touch. Since 2017, our proprietary platform and Empathy Warriors have been helping customers make leave not suck by eliminating administrative burdens, keeping companies compliant, and providing a truly positive and supportive leave of absence experience for their people.
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