The Strong Role LOA Automation Actually Plays In HR Success

Over the years we’ve heard CHROs, VPs of People Ops and HR managers colorfully describe their leave of absence process as follows:

A dumpster fire
Chaos theory in action
A trainwreck
Herding cats on catnip
A complete [4-letter word]-show
Spreadsheet purgatory

Do any of those descriptions feel familiar?

If so, there’s likely a good reason and it’s not your fault. Most organizations are stuck using outdated systems and manual processes to facilitate one of the most complex and intricate tasks HR and People Ops has to manage.

Being stuck in the manual leave management muck creates a tremendous amount of disruption in an HR team’s workflow.

Add to that an LOAs unpredictable nature, which makes promptly building a comprehensive employee leave plan administratively taxing, adhering to complicated leave law requirements stressful, and providing empathetic support every step of the way a near impossibility for People teams that are already stretched thin as is.

If there was ever an HR function in need of an automation makeover to deliver tangible HR results it’s leave of absence management.

Automating Manual LOA Processes Is HR’s Path to Success

Successfully running a business in the best of times is challenging enough, but when a key employee requests a leave of absence, the ability of HR to effectively and transparently facilitate that leave can make or break the experience for the employee and the productivity of the business alike.

How does manually managing leaves negatively impact HR and the business?

Manual LOA Processes Are Prone to Human Error

Despite what our parents may have told us (hi mom), humans aren’t perfect. We are fallible creatures regardless of our level of intelligence or attention to detail.

Having to manually track down data from an HRIS, keep tabs of FMLA hours used, and try to calculate pay for a single leave of absence has many potential points of fat-fingering critical information.

Of course, you also need to keep track of leave start and stop dates which impacts pay and benefits application timing, and can change as unpredictably as the weather.

Automation Removes Human Error From the Leave Process

An automated process syncs with your HRIS to ensure demographic data is up to date, keeps current tabs on everything from FMLA hours used to weeks of caregiver leave used, and calculates and adjusts payroll while factoring in things like STD and state benefits.

Now multiply this by every leave you may have to manage at any given time.

By removing the potential for human arrow you’re doing more than removing a burden from your HR team, you’re ensuring that you aren’t under or overpaying employees, FMLA hours are being tracked accurately in real-time, and your employee data is always current.

Manual Leave Management Leads to Inconsistent Leave Plans

An easy way to find your employees disgruntled and your organization in legal hot water is to provide two employees with two different leave experiences. Discrimination claims are serious when it comes to leaves of absence and should be treated as such.

Want an example?

Tilt’s CEO Jen Henderson had a promotion rescinded by a previous employer when she informed them she was pregnant. Legal recourse was within her rights and it could have cost her employer dearly, instead, she built a company that focuses on making leave compliance easier for organizations so other people wouldn’t have the experience she had, but the point still stands.

The biases surrounding a leave of absence can create two entirely different experiences when two employees try to take a leave of absence they’re entitled to and manually managing leaves compounds organizational risk to discrimination claims.

In Fiscal Year 2023, the EEOC received 81,055 new charges of discrimination, representing a more than 10% increase from the previous fiscal year.

Manually managing leaves of absence reinforces information silos and biases, making it difficult for the employee and their manager to understand the do’s and don’ts of a leave of absence.

Sometimes it just has to do with how busy your team is at any given time. If your team has the bandwidth to properly manage an employee’s leave, it may be an administrative burden, but the employee will likely get all the information needed.

If your team is slammed, however, and two leave requests come in a few hours apart, it would be unreasonable to expect the same level of service to be delivered.

Automation Makes Consistent Leave Plans and Education Easy

Instead of having to manually put together a leave plan accurately, consistently, and promptly at the drop of a hat, automation can ensure that every employee gets the same experience and treatment from your organization.

It also will save HR teams a boatload of time trying to track down the latest leave laws in New York from a home office in Arizona.

Software that automates the leave plan process, should take a leave request and incorporate accurate HRIS data to build out a plan for employees that lays out when company and state benefits they qualify for and clearly lays out the path ahead of them.

Automation should also provide that employee’s manager with information on the employee’s leave plan so they too know what is to be expected of them, and their employee, while on leave.

Avoiding discrimination in the world of leave management is vital, and automation helps HR teams turn a potential nightmare scenario into an easy-to-manage dream state.

Workforce Optimization is Blinded By Manual Leave Management

More than just organizational jargon, workforce optimization can suffer significantly if your LOA processes aren’t automated properly.

Transparency plays a major role in LOA efficacy and workforce efficiency. Transparency is hard to come by if your data lives in spreadsheets, your leave plans in Google Docs, and your educational materials for both managers and employees buried on your intranet.

“Managers play a critical and often undervalued role in a successful leave of absence,” says Jen in a recent episode of the Modern People Leaders Podcast. “They sit at the intersection of, “Well there is still work to get done, and will this person come back, and who on the team is going to do this work?’”

LOA Automation Improves Workforce Optimization

Properly automating your leave of absence process provides important information in real time to every stakeholder.

“So many people are involved with a single leave,” says Tilt COO Kait Feeney. “Subpar leave programs are really costly. HR wants to support the employee but also has to deal with upper management’s concerns about the impact on the business and the employee’s closest teammates.”

If you’re manually managing leaves of absence or have information siloed across multiple systems (and sometimes those systems live outside your organization like an STD carrier) every stakeholder is walking the LOA path with an information blindfold on.

“Allowing managers to understand what they’re required to do and what resources are available in anonymity, not having to raise their hand and say ‘HR, please help me,’ has proven to be really valuable,” adds Jen.

Tilt Recap: Leaves are complicated, unpredictable, time-consuming and rife with compliance risk. Relying on manual processes to manage leaves of absence poses a very real threat to operational success. By automating the leave process, HR has the ability to improve the employee experience, ensure accuracy and compliance, and drive operational success through smarter workforce planning capabilities.

Choosing the Right Leave of Absence Automation Software

Implementing software that automates as many moving manual processes as leave management requires is an intentional approach to ensure the software doesn’t just automate, it augments your HR team’s capabilities by acting as an extension of it.

Your leave solution should never leave you in the lurch.

Tilt knows leaves of absence are a delicate affair that involves personal, sensitive employee information in a time that’s potentially life-altering. It’s vital that the leave automation software you select is doing more than just automating manual tasks, but also:

  • Keeps leave data and employee information secure
  • Plays nicely with your HRIS
  • Works with all carriers
  • Manages all leave types in all states
  • Incorporates all the latest leave law information
  • Delivers human, 1-1 leave support for employees when they have questions (yes, that means no more fielding 1-off leave-related questions your team isn’t confident in answering compliantly)
  • Provides stakeholder visibility with dashboards for HR, the employee, the employee’s manager, and payroll.

Tilt provides all of this on top of the ability to automate the creation of accurate, consistent, personalized leave plans for every employee taking a leave when a request comes in.

Curious how it works? Let’s peel the curtain back and take a look at what Tilt provides your employees for every leave request that comes in. This is work you no longer have to do while maintaining complete visibility into the journey:

From FMLA determinations to step-by-step instructions on what to do when to file storage to payroll, Tilt provides LOA expertise to every employee, every step of the way.

"Before using Tilt our management of LOA and ADA was complicated and time-consuming, filled with multiple spreadsheets and often leaving opportunities for error. Adding Tilt has drastically changed how we handle leave management. Not only has it streamlined processes, but it’s also provided a positive customer experience for our community taking leaves. Our Tilt team has become an extension of our HR team. With the changing of state laws and the increase of leaves, Tilt has helped us stay on top of everything and stay compliant. Very thankful for Tilt and wish we would’ve made the switch sooner. "

Automating leave with Tilt gives HR teams the power to do what they do best; put their organization in a position to succeed by fostering an engaged employee culture and optimizing their workforce.

On the topic of workforce optimization, Tilt’s holistic approach to leave gives managers real-time information that they can use to properly adjust their workforce as leaves occur, change, and finish to completion. Here’s what the manager will see in Tilt:

The best way to drive HR and business success is to remove the barriers to better leave. Involve all concerned parties and do so consistently, empathetically, and without lifting a finger thanks to Tilt.

Tilt Recap: Tilt’s blend of tech and human touch creates an optimal leave of absence experience for all impacted parties through tech automation and human support. One without the other is an incomplete solution that can create confusion and friction (and compliance risks) within your organization, so when selecting a leave management software, choose the one that doesn’t just automate, but humanizes a very human experience.

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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