Designing Effective Leave Policies Is Half the Battle: Maximizing Leave Management Is the Other Half

Regardless of how large or small your company is, and no matter how complex or simple your leave programs are, you can always benefit from following tried-and-true best practices to design and implement more effective leave policies. But designing great leave policies is only half the battle in the war against the high costs and administrative headaches of unscheduled leaves and the risk of regulatory noncompliance.

Winning the war on the costs, negative employee engagement, and lost productivity because of unscheduled absences demands effective management for your great leave policies. Increasingly, that means having an automated leave management system designed specifically for this purpose for HR by a technology vendor that fully understands the entire landscape of the world of employee leave. With a manual leave management system or a system that was not originally designed to handle leave management, you simply won’t be able to get the most from what could otherwise be highly effective leave policies.

For example, here are five guidelines for designing and implementing effective leave policies and why an automated system is the best way to take them from policy to practice. These items are from a list by Mary Tavarozzi, group benefit practices leader at Willis Towers Watson. It first appeared on the Employee Benefit News website.

1. Review your current leave policies. As Tavarozzi points out in her presentation, this best practice is particularly important for large employers. But small and midsize businesses should also take a close look at their leave statistics: How many employees take advantage of your leave policies and at what cost to your organization?

LeaveXpert, the automated, cloud-based leave management system from Optis, gives HR departments easy insight into the impact that absence has on their organizations. This includes FMLA, disability, and other company-specific leave events. Features like automated case creation and real-time reporting mean you can get the kind of insight into leave usage that you need to assess your current leave policies.

2. Know the laws that apply. The cost of regulatory noncompliance can be huge. The risk of noncompliance is compounded because the rules seem to be constantly changing. The problem is further exacerbated by local and state leave laws that are rarely used and often overlooked.

With the right partner, you can take advantage of a cloud-based leave management system that provides knowledge, support, and software solutions designed solely for helping you better manage every kind of leave in your organization. LeaveXpert, for example, automatically updates for changes in state and federal leave policies. To learn how to navigate all of the leaves that may apply to your organization, download the Optis e-book “The Land of Unusual Leaves — It’s a Jungle Out There.”

3. Don’t let “perfect be the enemy of the good.” Keep this saying in mind when designing your leave policies. For example, if you cannot afford to offer full-paid leaves, consider offering partial paid leaves.

With an automated leave management solution that offers different tiers of features, you can similarly manage your leave policies one step at a time. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing scenario. LeaveXpert, for example, offers three versions: LeaveXpert Essential, Plus, and Unlimited. 

4. Communicate your leave policies clearly and frequently to employees and supervisors. If you have a number of leave options for your employees, they should know generally what they are. Train supervisors on the specifics of your leave policies and how to talk about them with employees.

An automated leave management system can give you an immediate view of all of your policies, in every single one of your operations, and how leave is being used. It’s a big help in putting together communication to inform employees about types of leaves they might not be aware of, for example.

5. Think long term. Try to anticipate what your business needs and workforce demographics will look like five to 10 years from now and try to design leaves that are relevant today and down the road. And of course, though all organizations share some needs when it comes to leave management, no two organizations have exactly the same set of requirements or demands.

Again, a tiered system, like LeaveXpert, makes it easy to find the right leave management system for your current needs and plan for your future demands. Because the entire system is cloud-based, it’s easy and simple to upgrade, whether you use LeaveXpert Essential, Plus, or Unlimited. Learn more in our e-book “Managing Employee Leave: Yes, You Can Afford to Do It Better.”