An effective absence management program is a plus for your company as you strive to keep costs under control and improve your financial bottom line. As reported by the Integrated Benefits Institute, 75 percent of CFOs indicated that absenteeism had the same business impact, including costs, as their employee health plans.
The primary reason that absenteeism costs spiral out of control is incomplete or decentralized tracking. Typically, employers fail to follow and analyze intermittent absences because the task can be so difficult and cumbersome.
To ease this heartache, you need to develop a comprehensive absence management program that prevents you from losing key data, including trend patterns.
The Cost of Mismanaged Absences
The financial effects of mismanaged absenteeism can be staggering. In a recent lawsuit in the United States, a mishandled family medical leave claim resulted in a court-ordered payment of more than $1 million in lost pay and legal fees.
Another study looked at companies that ranged in size from 50 to 20,000 employees.
- Fifty-eight percent of these employers reported that they had difficulty interpreting leave laws.
- Fifty-four percent cited challenges in ensuring that their employees were able to perform essential duties before returning to work.
- Forty-two percent noted that they lacked staff resources to manage absenteeism.
Your Optimal Program
Research has shown that companies with highly developed absence management programs are twice as likely to achieve desired results. Here are some tips to make yours an industry-leading success:
- Ensure buy-in from senior management. Develop a strategic communication plan that cascades key messages throughout your organization.
- Implement an effective model. Key success predictors include using the same outside resource for disability and leave administration, and making health management referrals. The ability to provide employee assistance, disease control and wellness programs makes a significant difference in getting them back to work more quickly.
- Have a central portal where employees can report all their short- and long-term absences. A single resource translates to more reliable data and more accurate reporting.
- Mind the gaps. Ensure that there are no coverage gaps when changing carriers. Also, be sure that your leave administrator works in tandem with your disability carrier and your payroll vendor.
- Measure your success. It’s important to determine how your program effectiveness will be assessed and to monitor progress on a regular basis.