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Employers are more aware of how leave polices are affecting staff engagement and productivity.
Since leave has increasingly been impacting legal, reputational, and hiring and retention dimensions, such leave programmes now involve additional departments and are tied to business goals.
Here are the key trends from the 2015 Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) Employer Leave Management Survey which was completed by 961 employers in the United Sates.
1. Investing more resources
Employers have added staff and resources to more effectively manage leave. They are more sophisticated in their management of leave. The level of difficulty has eased. They have added resources/staff to more effectively manage leave, and are focusing on the more complex aspects of intermittent leave, regulatory variations, enforcement, and abuse.
When asked how employers see their leave of absence programme evolving over the next two years, their degree of sophistication and movement beyond the basics of leave management came through.
2. Centralisation of leave policies
Increased knowledge leads employers to develop well defined, consistent processes. A centralised program provides all departments, divisions, locations, managers, supervisors, and employees access to one central place for all tasks related to leave administration. Policies are becoming more uniform and more centrally organised.
Clear and concise training for managers and employees across all departments throughout the organization will create dependable processes, increase communication, and reduce risk.
3. Leveraging more on technology
Employers are increasingly using automated systems for leave management. This has led to additional investment in technology to upgrade and integrate time & attendance, payroll and HR systems.
Employers of all sizes are examining the possibilities beyond manual tracking and home grown systems to externally developed or outsourced vendor systems that focus on leave management.
4. Programme outsourcing
More employers are outsourcing leave management and vendor satisfaction is increasing. Outsourcing requires process and program reviews, which generally lead to changes that produce efficiencies and greater legal and regulatory compliance.
5. Strategic focus
Employers are continually expanding both tactical and strategic programmes. Once employers have mastered the basics of leave management, they have the opportunity to continually evolve by considering new leave types, broader policies and processes, use of systems, and tighter management protocols to achieve the highest levels of productivity at their organizations.
“Leave is a social, legal, political, and strategic business issue,” said Terri L. Rhodes, chief executive officer of DMEC. “Employers increasingly view leave this way, and are hiring staff, investing in technology and partner relationships, to effectively manage it and all forms of absence. Compliance with laws and regulations is an opportunity to improve processes, performance, and even competitive advantage.”
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