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This week, planning for the DMEC 20th Annual Conference is underway! Mark your calendar for the conference August 2-5 in San Francisco and register here.

Here are a few conference highlights we’re most looking forward to:

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Discover the five steps to successful data and vendor management from Optis’ Executive VP, Rene Gates, in the latest issue of DMEC’s @Work magazine (members-only content.)

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We’re packing our bags and going all-in for the 2014 DMEC Annual Conference next week at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. We’ll be at booth 412 talking with HR folks about the challenges they face while managing employee leave. We’ll also be doing a drawing for a Tory Burch handbag and an iPad mini, so stop by and test your luck for a chance to win.

Here’s a list of tid-bits to know to become a “high-roller” in managing FMLA leave:

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Expensive changes to health plans from new laws such as mental health parity and health reform are forcing employers to look for savings across every department in their organization.

Often, an enterprise will look to making changes in their benefit plans to save money – and disability plans offer a lot of opportunities for savings. But, choosing the correct plan elements to adjust poses a challenge for most organizations. How can they determine which plan changes would save the most money?

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Are you faced with compliance concerns, extended leave durations, and administrative overload? Uncover industry best practices and learn how to track multiple leave types in a cloud based system during the session, "Leveraging Technology to Manage & Track FMLA efficiently" at the DMEC Conference.

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The exercise of managing and tracking FMLA in today’s work environment requires training, dedication to excellence (aka compliance), and endurance.

Leave managers must be committed to obtaining the education necessary to understand the internal and external (state and federal) policies governing employee absence. They then must operate as efficiently as possible to ensure compliance with said leave policies (keeping the company away from potential legal issues) while managing the day-to-day tasks and events required to return employees to work quickly.

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At the recent DMEC conference, we had the opportunity to talk with a lot of people we’ve met ‘virtually’ but never before in person. It was exciting to put a face to the Twitter handle and make off-line connections.

However, in one conversation, we met someone who we hadn’t met online. As we spoke, she shared that Twitter and other social media tools intimidated her but that she wanted to start using them.