Winston Churchill once famously claimed that Democracy is the worst form of government, aside from all the others. And while forms of government and your leave of absence management processes couldn’t seem to have less in common, we could similarly say that the methods currently at your disposal to manage leaves of absence is the worst form of HR efficiency and employee support, aside from not supporting your employees on leave at all.
That’s not to say HR and People Ops pros around the country aren’t passionate about supporting their people. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but if the systems and processes you have in place aren’t in a position to successfully support employees on leave effectively, then there’s something wrong with the antiquated ways you’re being asked to support your employees in their times of need.
It’s no secret that the way most HR and People Ops pros are managing leaves sucks for them as much as it does for their employees on leave. But why? And what can be done about it to make it better?
From having to manually track important leave data on spreadsheets to dealing with payroll discrepancies, coordinating with insurance carriers and state departments, to making sure employees are filling out their paperwork on time, to being the primary resource for all questions leave-related, there is far too much you’re responsible for when supporting a single leave of absence to be left using “Leave it to Beaver” systems in a “Modern Family” world.
If that weren’t enough (oh it’s more than enough), leave laws are constantly changing and employees are continuing to spread out across the country, meaning there’s more pressure than ever to “get leave right,” and to do so compliantly.
As the emphasis on workplace experience and work-life balance continues to be a major factor and benefit for employees and employers alike, leave requests will continue their upward trajectory. While employees being encouraged to take time away from work to focus on life’s most challenging moments is viewed as a positive, today’s processes aren’t scalable in a way that you can effectively and efficiently support them in the way they need.
Manual processes in siloed systems expose your organization to risk, aren’t scalable, and don’t provide the support for employees you’d love to give them. It’s better than not supporting employees at all, but it’s time HR and People Ops pros had a leave of absence technology revolution to bring your support capabilities to the modern age.
No matter how dialed in your spreadsheets are or how strong your relationship is with payroll and employees, having separate manual processes for keeping tabs on FMLA hours, top-up payment amounts and statuses of state benefits applications is putting a tremendous amount of stress on you and your team’s bandwidth.
While you can’t control all the variables of an employee’s experience in the workplace, identifying the critical touchstones an employee has throughout their tenure at your organization will allow you to implement solutions to bring those experiences up from suboptimal to supreme while freeing you to focus on what matters most to drive the organization forward.
As Lance Haun of the Starr Conspiracy puts it, “Since you can’t control it all, as an HR Leader you can be thinking about what you consider to be defining moments in the employee experience and what you can do to make those moments even a little bit better.”
In the case of leave of absence management, no one is happy with the current experience. A leave of absence is a defining moment in your employee’s lifecycle that isn’t getting the attention it needs. And you can’t deliver a positive leave journey to your people because your experience trying to manage leave is crap (technical term) as well.
“At the end of the day, what really defines moments at an organization are people. But if people don’t have the bandwidth to create the opportunity for defining moments, because they’re too busy doing tedious manual tasks, it’s just a waste of human potential,” says Aaron Delgaty, PhD of the Starr Conspiracy.
You can have the best onboarding process, coffee and beer and the breakroom, and competitive leave benefits, but if your employees need to take time away from work and they aren’t supported properly through the journey, none of that will matter. In this way, your leave of absence management process heavily influences (either positively or negatively) one of your employee’s touchstone moments as an employee at your organization.
How does your current process impact your employees today?
Manual, inconsistent processes don’t give you the ability to build a solid foundation for this defining moment in an employee’s life, but the right dedicated leave software can be that foundation, freeing up your potential to achieve your organizational goals while delivering a superior experience when your employees need it most.
Leave software can automate leave tracking (see ya, spreadsheets), guide employees through the tricky labyrinth of a leave, keep your organization compliant, automate payroll calculations, educate managers, and support employees if and when questions arise.
Your current leave management process might be failing you and your employees, but your current leave management process doesn’t have to be your future leave management process. There’s a better way to build that foundation of trust and support when an employee needs to take time away from work to attend to life’s biggest moments.
And it makes your life easier to boot. The right leave management software should be capable of managing all leave types across the country and it should provide a window for you and your team to see all aspects of a leave in one centralized, safe and secure platform.
Only having to click a button to see all your leaves are running smoothly, or to pull accurate, real-time leave data on an employee (or employees) taking a leave is a seismic shift in the way you’re able to fulfill your obligations as a people leader within your organization.
If your current leave management process presents a crack in the foundational support you can deliver to your people, it might be time to give leave the attention it deserves with modern leave management software.
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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