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Optis Blog: Your Place to Find Our Bright Ideas

If you want to get a clearer idea of what Optis does, or if you're curious about our perspective on absence, risk, and data management, our blog is a great place to start. Feel free to leave comments or share our blog posts with any of your social connections.


 

Cloud computing continues to open new opportunities for enterprise companies to capitalize on one of their most valuable and often underappreciated assets: employee data, also known as “people” data. This is particularly true with the surging trend toward online programs for benefits administration, employee engagement, and learning and development. For HR, the ability to manage benefits and talent management programs in the cloud has the valuable potential to transform a wealth of their people data into accurate and practical insights that can drive more-effective strategic decisions for the business and HR. Most significantly, an optimal online employee- or people-data management system gives HR the ability to efficiently and accurately integrate and manage the continual flood of data from several sources. In most companies, benefits data lives in many disparate locations — HRIS, payroll, provider systems, and in-house spreadsheets.

A quality vendor (like Optis, for example) will offer fine-tuned expertise in mapping and integrating data from multiple systems, allowing HR to centralize its separate depositories of data into a single source of truth. The results include:

  • The confidence that employees receive the right benefits at the right time, while controlling access to data
  • An improved employee user experience, by eliminating the piecemeal system that develops when information needs to be obtained from several providers
  • A more effective and easier-to-access bank of data for investigating trends and developing changes (more on this below)

Improved data security — risk mitigation — is another primary benefit of people-data management software. A cloud-based employee-data management system can remove the burden on employers to ensure data is secure when it’s transferred among myriad parties. Many legislatures have used ISO 27001, a globally recognized industry standard for information security management systems (ISMS), as the framework for accessibility, confidentiality, integrity of information, and legal compliance in the field of personal data like the kind HR depends on. Optis, for example, in February 2017 announced the successful renewal of its ISO 27001 certification.

A third primary benefit of employing cloud software for managing people data is the increased power it gives HR to identify and act on key trends and metrics. It enables HR to better adapt to and make defensible decisions around changes in employee and business needs. Centralized employee data can be used to investigate everything from cost of employment to international migration costs to which benefits choices are creating greater engagement and higher retention rates. With this kind of data — easily accessible through the cloud if you have the right vendor — HR can deliver better-informed and more-effective decisions.

Easier compliance is a fourth benefit of cloud-based people-data management. For example, it can automatically record employee interactions and create a full audit trail for HR and benefits administration teams. For global companies, another example of increased compliance capabilities from cloud-based people-data management is the ability to easily and accurately manage country-specific reporting requirements from a single centralized source.

Optis is one of the leading options for making your people data visible and manageable through cloud-based software. Optis Insights is intentionally built to work for enterprise employers, insurers, and third-party administrators with complex people-data needs. People-data management solutions from Optis include:

  • Data Warehousing — to put your people data in one location and make that mountain of data easier to manage
  • Reporting and Intelligence — to turn your people data into actionable business decisions
  • Analytics — to create cost savings and increase workforce productivity
  • Data Conversion Services — to adapt your people data to meet changing business needs

Learn how Optis Insights can mitigate risk and give you greater insight into data from all of your HR data systems. Contact Optis now.

It’s been over a quarter-century since President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law, and more than eight years have passed since the act was amended to give employers and business owners greater clarity and guidance into the civil rights protections the ADA set in place. Now, the same way the ongoing debate over healthcare reform has reached into nearly every corner of American life, it’s similarly raised concerns around the ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).

Consider these recent headlines:

As Congress debates plans that could have sweeping implications for people with disabilities and what that could mean in the workplace, employers must still meet the already complex ADA accommodation regulations. Although the 2008 amendments provided comprehensive guidance for employers, compliance remains a huge challenge. The risks of noncompliance can be costly. And it looks like things aren’t going to get easier to manage anytime soon.

That said, if you’re an employer that must comply with the ADA and ADAAA, you can take seven steps to ensure that you efficiently and accurately track, manage, and document your accommodation process to mitigate compliance risk and eliminate employee grievances.

  1. Use an interactive process. Simply put, an interactive process means that employers and employees who request accommodations because of a disability work together. But simple doesn’t always mean easy, uncomplicated, or without potential risks. The right process solution makes a huge difference.

  2. Have a way to safely validate accommodation claims. Legal experts and courts routinely disagree on what defines a “reasonable” ADA/ADAAA request or accommodation. But you need a process to manage those requests and accommodations to ensure compliance, maintain productivity, and prevent employee disengagement.

  3. Have a smooth return-to-work process. If a returning employee is disabled or has a record of a disability, they may need additional accommodations after returning to work. Required under the ADA, these accommodations can include time off for medical appointments or therapy sessions, special equipment, or workplace modifications.

  4. Stay up to date with EEOC enforcement guidance. The EEOC has issued guidance on ADA topics ranging from the “unlawful disparate treatment” of workers with caregiving responsibilities to the definition of psychiatric disabilities under the act. You need a system that will automatically update your accommodations process.

  5. Perform efficient and complete compliance self-audits. You need to regularly review your compliance strategies and tactics. A compliance self-audit that reviews all of your ADA-related policies and practices requires the ability to monitor all of the actions related to any accommodation request.

  6. Have a process for complying with local and state laws or multiple leave accommodations. An employee may qualify for multiple leaves and accommodations. The FMLA and ADA/ADAAA often overlap. The results can be an administration quagmire for HR and cause significant disruptions for managers and employees. You need a way to ensure that your plans comply with all applicable laws.

  7. Be prepared to accept full responsibility. Regardless of who manages your employees’ requests for ADA/ADAAA accommodations or their claims under FMLA, if the IRS determines any penalties or fees are due, you’ll be the one it holds responsible. You need to be able to absolutely trust any outside solution or vendor you use to manage your process and plan.

To better understand why these steps are so important, and to get a clearer picture of how to act on them in your organization, download our e-book “Seven Steps to Safe Swimming in the Dangerous Waters of ADA Accommodation Compliance.”

ADAInteract® from Optis makes it easy to manage accommodation requests and the ADAAA interactive process. ADAInteract increases efficiency in the disability accommodations process by providing a centralized system for managing every accommodation request — and the entire ADAAA interactive process. With three editions of ADAInteract, Optis makes it possible for your company to get exactly what you need to manage every piece of the complicated ADA process and be sure you’re in compliance.

Start your free 30-day trial today!

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