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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.


 

The Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) has identified five leading trends in absence and disability management that HR leaders should pay attention to in 2019. Interestingly, an automated leave management system can help organizations keep pace with what’s ahead and mitigate compliance and other risks associated with all five trends.

1. Employee Engagement

With employee engagement increasingly viewed as two-way street, employers need to invest in education and professional development to promote engagement and “up-skill” in data and people skills. This will affect leave policies and how leave is tracked and managed.

In addition, various forms of leave, especially paid family leave, will play an increasingly larger role in fostering engagement. “We’ll continue to see those programs expand at the private, local, and state levels, if not at the federal level,” the DMEC reports.

A manual leave management system, or even one built internally or not developed specifically to manage leave, usually creates more headaches for HR and makes an already complex problem more difficult. An optimal automated system delivers what’s needed to get leave management right to boost employee engagement, including for federal and state FMLA regulations.

2. Supervisor Training

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Employee Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have said most of their enforcement actions can be avoided through basic supervisor training. FMLA, ADA, anti-discrimination, and sexual harassment liability are all greatly reduced when supervisors and managers understand the relevant laws and the most common types of communication pitfalls to avoid.

An automated leave management system significantly reduces the information supervisors and managers need to know off the top of their heads and instead makes it easy and safe for them to find the information they need at a glance. Compliance is also easier thanks to automated alerts, correspondence, and task management.

3. Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

A tight labor market means employers will also continue to hire employees from diverse backgrounds with varied skills and abilities. We’ll also continue to see more diverse workplaces and a deepened understanding about the role different perspectives play in driving innovation and competitiveness.

Those are factors that highlight one reason leave management isn’t as cut and dried as it once was. Companies need to carefully consider whether a particular employee’s situation is covered by any laws and regulations.

An automated leave management system that’s constantly updated to comply with local, state, and federal laws will help ensure that your business meets legal parameters around such issues as disability and the complexities of accommodations — many of which relate directly to diversity and inclusion. 

4. Automation

As more routine tasks and even some forms of subjective assessment or judgment are automated, employees need to bring greater skill and more advanced analysis and creativity to their work. The DMEC notes that as a result, absence and disability professionals are learning to use AI and big data to interpret output in a way that drives business results.

Data warehousing for HR can help overcome this challenge. The right system can allow for all of HR’s disparate people data to be stored and managed in one location, from employee benefits to risk management. The results are optimal manageability and accessibility, more control and insight into all of your employee-generated data, and better business decisions.

5. Marijuana

The U.S. has not seen such a potentially large shift in social, legal, and workplace practices involving a drug since alcohol prohibition was ended in 1933. The increased legalization or decriminalization for medical and recreational marijuana presents employers, courts, and others with a host of new challenges. Leave management is going to be one of those  challenges.

As the DMEC points out, medical marijuana presents the more complex challenge. First, because it’s more widespread; it’s now legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Second, because prescribed (and even recreational) drug use is often still illegal when employees are at work, the federal law isn’t in sync with states that have legalized the drug. This means that employees can’t use prescribed drugs on employer property.

An automated, constantly updated leave management system gives employers the confidence that the implications of all this are sorted out for them, helping them ensure compliance and avoid legal and employment risk.

The people analytics is growing — globally and in the ways businesses are using it. Changing employee demographics, the rise of team-based organizational models, the globalization of the workforce, and the increasing influence of technology are all driving companies to leverage people analytics to better understand employee data and its impact on business performance.

From the United States to Europe to the Pacific Rim, the percentage of enterprise-level companies saying people analytics is very important or important is universally growing, according to Deloitte’s “Human Capital Trends” (the highest percentage comes from fast-growing economies). The areas of people analytics range from talent acquisition in identifying the right talent to minimizing bias in hiring, retaining employees, and increasing employee engagement, as well as measuring culture, workforce readiness, employee experience, and more. 

Of course, the genesis of data-driven insights for HR started more than 20 year ago. Jac Fitz-Enz, a pioneer in HR benchmarking, laid out the ability and potential of HR to quantify and accurately measure productivity in its major functional areas in his 1984 classic of HR writing, “How to Measure Human Resources Management.” But the curve has accelerated very recently with technological advancements, cloud-based HR systems, advanced analytics, AI, chatbots, VR, AR, gamification, automation, blockchain, and more.

The result: a transformation in the way HR works by using people analytics to evolve from being transactional and reactive to strategic and proactive, and having an ever-greater impact on their organizations.

For companies that “compete in a people-intensive business and are seeking to hire, retain, and promote the best people in the industry … analytics can be the key,” wrote Tom Davenport and Jeanne Harris in their book Competing on Analytics. But even more broadly, the authors make this point: 

“Organizations competing to identify, retain, and nurture the right talent are looking for distinctive business processes as a point of differentiation. This has shifted the spotlight to talent management and on HR analytics.”

So what, exactly, is HR analytics? We like this succinct definition by Baskaran Ambalavanan, a writer and technology consultant specializing in the HR sector: “HR analytics is the process of analyzing the available people-related data to measure the effectiveness of the HR programs and identify patterns in order to make meaningful business decisions.”

But it’s all possible only with the right technology and consultative support. It’s the kind of technology and services like those offered by Optis Insights employee and HR data-management software. Optis Insights mitigates risk and gives HR leaders greater insight into the data from all of their data systems. It removes the uncertainty and drastically cuts the time for getting high-quality, centralized data and total transparency into people data from any source or HR data system.

The upshot: data-driven intelligence tailored to an organization’s needs.

What are your organization’s needs? Equally important: How do those needs align with your readiness and ability to apply people data and business analytics? Gartner’s Business Analytics Maturity Model offers one of the most common methods for identifying where you’re at in using data analytics:

Stage 1: Descriptive Analytics — the foundation of business intelligence, primarily focused on what has happened (e.g., employee turnover, new-hire reports, time to hire)

Stage 2: Diagnostic Analytics — focuses on why something happened, taking a deep dive into data to understand the causes of events and behaviors (e.g., the reasons behind employee turnover)

Stage 3: Predictive Analytics — the basis of the big data, future-focused analyses that predict future patterns based on historical data (e.g., identifying flight-risk employees to help reduce employee turnover and improve the bottom line)

Stage 4: Prescriptive Analytics — the future of big data, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to understand future impact and determine the best outcomes

Optis Insights supports organizations regardless of the level of maturity of your people analytics.

Data Warehousing

With configurable data capturing and an intuitive interface, Optis data warehousing services for HR and people data can yield a clearer picture of your people data in real time. We currently store more than 650 million records of people data, helping companies integrate all of their workforce and human resources data.

Reporting and Intelligence

Optis HR reporting and intelligence delivers a combination of standard and custom reporting to give you the information you need, when you need it. We currently generate more than 5,000 reports monthly.

Analytics

Optis HR analytics help companies, including FedEx and Chevron, look deep into their people data to analyze absence trends, high-risk populations, healthcare cost drivers, and other employee benefits claims.

Data Conversion Services

Optis has more than 17 years of experience with big data, delivering accurate people data conversions in a fraction of the time companies could complete the work in-house.

Imagine having more efficient, secure, and effective control over how your organization acquires, integrates, manages, retains, and disposes of all of its disparate people data. The result would be high-quality, centralized data from any source or system, with total transparency into that data.

For more information, download our e-book “Turn Your Tsunami of People Data Into a Steady Stream of Data-driven Business Intelligence.”

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Solving the Puzzle of Leave Management

Based on an Optis survey of HR professionals, discover the leave management pieces that could reduce your compliance risk and cost of absences.

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