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Transitioning from Manual FMLA Tracking to a Cloud Solution: Part II

Two weeks ago, we discussed the first two steps of transitioning from manual FMLA tracking to a cloud solution. This week, we’re exploring Step 3.

Step 3: Investigate the options

Bad habits are hard to break. But, as the saying goes, “The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Sure, it may be hard to let go of your paper-based FMLA tracking process because of the familiarity, the consistency, your habit – call it what you will. But, if you’ve recognized the problems of your existing processes and are committed to change, then it’s time to stop doing the same thing over and over and move to the cloud.

But, where to start? Investigate the options.

The options available when purchasing cloud-software can only be understood if they are explored systematically. And, more than likely, your organization may very well require you to document your investigative efforts.

Be thorough and follow these three tasks; do your homework, conduct vendor conversations, and experiment with free trials.

  1. Do your homework. Surf the internet and see what’s out there. Start with a simple internet search such as leave management software or absence management software. But don’t stop there. Take advantage of the suggestions provided by your search engine, and consider other ways to phrase what you’re looking for. Also, use social media sites and blogs – which hold a plethora of information. For example, by following hashtags on Twitter, you can get updates from HR technology vendors, find product reviews from HR bloggers, and get to know top influencers who can point you in the right direction. Our favorite hashtags are #HRTech, #HRTechConf and the new #HRISchat. You can also seek out (or start) discussions in your LinkedIn Groups, visit forums and follow the comments, or participate in an online class or webinar.

  2. Vendor conversations are critical when investigating possible cloud solutions if you have several custom needs. When having these conversations you should focus on sharing the problems you are currently experiencing. Unfortunately, these conversations can become sidetracked if you focus too heavily on the bells and whistles rather than functions that alleviate your problems. What happens? You may find a solution that seemingly ‘does it all’ but then you realize, while the snazzy features are nice, they don’t really solve your organization’s leave management issues. So, take the approach that you would when ordering wine at an expensive restaurant. You know you want wine with your meal, but you ask the waiter which wine goes best with your meal to have the best dining experience.

  3. Lastly, and most importantly, experiment with the software you want to purchase by taking advantage of a free trial experience. A free trial is play time that lets you pound the tires and gives you the opportunity of experiencing the thrill of the cloud solution meeting your needs and solving your manual FMLA tracking problems. Usually a trial will provide a 30-60 day window to work in the system real-time, which means you have the opportunity to track existing FMLA absences for a period of time or from beginning to end. For example, test how the solution tracks intermittent time over multiple weeks for different serious health conditions. In a good system, you’ll start to see how your current headache from tracking this type of FMLA time will be relieved. Like a good pain reliever (or a glass of wine), you’ll forget you even had a headache as you move throughout your day more productively and happily.