The Presagia team is thrilled to once again have the honor of contributing a column to each issue of this year's @Work Magazine, a publication by the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC). If you haven't had a chance to check out this excellent resource, we highly recommend that you do! DMEC provides best practice resources for our complex industry and @Work is one of many excellent resources that we always stay on top of!
This year's column, Absence & Accommodation Technology, focuses on walking employers through the many considerations they should have as they start to look for leave and accommodation technology, dive into the review process, implement their solution, and maintain a healthy relationship with their vendor post go-live. We’ll also be giving an insider’s look at the many pitfalls employers make when assessing and managing technology, with an eye to helping them avoid these common missteps.
As we did with last year's Technology and Absence Management series, we've created this blog series to share each of our 2020 columns with you! We're now sharing our March column, which discusses the features you should be prioritizing during your search for new absence management technology!
Picking the Must Have Features in Your New Absence Management Technology
With new solutions coming on the market regularly, employers have a lot of options to digest when selecting the right leave management technology. As previously discussed, a thorough search involves building a list of specific requirements. Now, let’s investigate which features to prioritize when compiling your leave management must-haves.
Compliance, usually the greatest force behind the search for a new leave management solution as the complexity of federal, state, and municipal leave legislation continues to grow, comes first. Assess the jurisdictions in which you operate and ensure the vendors you’re evaluating cover all areas. Examine the breadth of leave types covered: Is it just family and medical, or is it as granular as voting, jury duty, school visitation, etc.? Ask if the vendor takes responsibility for updating the system with new leave laws, and how often.
After compliance comes efficiency. Whether you’re moving forward from a manual or outsourced process, it’s crucial to automate so your team can focus on higher-value case management activities rather than repetitive administrative tasks such as calculating eligibility and entitlement and setting reminders. Most leave solutions provide automated reminders to keep cases on track, but you should dig deeper. Does the solution automate all processes through guided workflows?
One of the greatest time savers of leave technology is the ability to auto-generate correspondence to employees. Review the full extent of letters provided. Over 35 different events can happen in a leave process that trigger letters, so look for less common letters addressing such things as missing information, entitlement exhaustion, and recertification. Another benefit of having extensive correspondence templates is enforcing consistency in employee communications; this can be a critical factor in compliance.
Reporting on your leave data is crucial, as this will help you manage your day-to-day operations and hone your long-term strategy. Consider the number of pre-defined reports provided and whether ad hoc reporting is offered or if you must return to the vendor to build additional reports. A system that enables you to self-report will empower you to gather information on leave utilization, case manager productivity, and more to address your specific needs in real time.
Data security is of the utmost importance when managing leave. Beyond ethical considerations of handling this sensitive information appropriately, legislation (e.g., the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) also governs how you handle and store health information. Review the security methods used to restrict users’ access to types of data and specific employees. Technologies should utilize strong encryption methods when it comes to how data is stored and transmitted.
Another critical aspect is integration with human resources information systems, time and attendance, and payroll systems. Vendors typically have standard file specifications for the interfaces. Review this to ensure you can eliminate as much duplicate data entry as possible.
Lastly, consider configuration versus customization. We’re often tempted to recreate our old leave processes; however, this leads to costly and time-consuming customization. Research how much a vendor can tailor their system to your needs using configuration (i.e., no custom software development). The most important configuration is the ability to add employer-specific leave policies.
Given that you have a lot of information to process when choosing your leave management technology, it’s crucial to focus on how the features offered by each vendor can meet your organization’s requirements and fill the gaps that exist in your current program. From here, you can make improvements and move onward and upward.
Founded in 1987, Presagia has a long history of helping organizations solve complex business problems with easy-to-use solutions. Today, this means providing cloud-based absence management solutions that enable organizations to be more efficient, control lost time and risk, and strengthen compliance with federal, state and municipal leave and accommodation laws.