In the afterglow of Valentine’s Day, this may seem like a sweet sentiment to those with absent loves. But when it comes to work, employers are anything but fond of absences. Estimates the cost of unplanned absence in the range of $80-$100 billion annually in the US. Add in the loss of productivity due to planned absences and leave, and you can see the size of the issue. Increasingly, organizations are looking to providers not just for tools to track absence and leave, but to bring together services and technology to improve both business outcomes and employee experience through the process.
One organization embracing this holistic approach in its solutions for absence and leave is WorkForce Software. I had a chance recently to see the latest iteration of their EmpCenter Absence Compliance Tracker (ACT), which includes some interesting features, such as guided decision-making for case managers to help them determine all the different leave eligibility under state local and federal regulations, document management for all the required notifications from the various types of leave, as well as content around expected return to work times for various conditions and situations. Through partnerships with legal and health resources, the solution is packaged in a way that makes the decision process very clear, and ensures that the content is continually updated. Not only does this help case managers make the right decisions and ensure compliance, it can also help build trust among employees that leave is being granted fairly, and give transparency into the process.
This intersection of functionality, services and information isn’t new to WorkForce Software’s approach to leave, but it was a good reminder about where we should be going with the evolution of the SaaS marketplace in human capital management. Not only are users expecting functionality from their solution partners, they are expecting guidance and information. And let’s face it, when someone takes leave, it’s often because something has gone wrong. At a difficult time, organizations must navigate the balance of compliance and compassion. But without a way to track how decisions are applied, they may wind up being inconsistent, opening themselves up for liability as well as employee discontent. But when handled well, clear communication, expectations, and being treated with fairness and respect at a time of crisis can go a long way to building their loyalty when they return. No one is fond of absences at work, but savvy absence solutions can turn even the most mundane and least thought about HR practices into an opportunity to engage employees, and build loyalty.