Happy employees usually stay at their jobs, frustrated workers often don’t. Chief human resource officers (CHROs) tell us that the corporate leave of absence (LOA) process is one of the most common sources of employee frustration. Employees often rank their LOA experiences low on the satisfaction scale, using descriptors such as complicated, confusing, inconsistent, time consuming, and unresolved.
As unlikely as it may seem, the LOA construct presents a unique opportunity for companies to flip the script, taking one of the most-complained-about processes and turning it into an employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) booster.
Why LOA has traditionally been a four-letter word
“At a time when organizations can ill afford to watch any employees walk out the door, experts say inattention to HR technology integration and failing to ensure that both HR staff and line managers are well-educated about the intricacies of leave policies can have an outsized impact on employee retention and company performance.” ~Dave Zielinski, SHRM.org1
If you’re a CHRO or HR director, you know all too well the problems with the typical LOA process. It’s complicated, inconsistent, and impersonal. For everyone. One CHRO describes the LOA process as a huge distraction and time-consuming effort for HR departments. “We do babies well, but after that our policies fall off. Currently, employee requests for mental-health and elder-care leaves are among our fastest growing LOA categories.” But few HR systems are equipped to manage either the scale or complexity of the disparate workflows associated with each, which can leave HR staff misperceived as the source of the problems.
While most HR teams can boast abundant expertise in managing leaves of absence for the birth of a child, few would call themselves experts in each of today’s broad-ranging leave categories. But ready or not, they’re required to manage all of the mandatory leaves defined by federal, state, or local law, as well as the voluntary ones offered at the discretion of employers. Taken together, there can be dozens of options to process: parental leaves, bereavement, military, sabbatical, jury-time-off, medical, paid and unpaid, COVID-recovery leaves, and on and on, each with its own set of governing corporate policies and compliance regulations. Employers must ensure adherence to an increasingly confusing matrix of international, federal, state, and local laws. Even standards for the U.S. Department of Labor Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), for example, can vary from state to state. Even when HR managers expediently deliver necessary information to all corporate stakeholders, siloed IT systems can make the LOA process fragmented and hard to update
On the other side, employees increasingly feel the stress of this complex process. Even when HR managers communicate benefits to workers, many forget where to access the information or remain overwhelmed and uncertain about the entitlements of each leave category: how many weeks can they take, will they continue to be paid and if so, at what rate, will their benefits still apply, what happens if their plans change, who do they notify before they come back to work, etc. The LOA process too often worsens the anxiety of an employee already stressed by an LOA-triggering situation or life event.
CHROs understand well the need for a seamless, personalized LOA experience that meets the needs of both businesses and their employees. The reality, given the limitations of legacy HR technology, is that a worker’s LOA request more typically creates a web of chaos and frustration.
The solution: A consistent and personalized LOA experience
The solution is a consistent and personalized LOA experience—one that serves employees across their entire hire-to-retire journeys. The process should be easy, automated, intuitive, and familiar for employees to use for all types of leave. At the same time, the experience should be automatically personalized for the employee’s location, language, or other special requirements.
Wipro, utilizing the ServiceNow Now Platform®, is successfully helping companies eliminate the chaos and change the entire tone and tenor of the LOA process within an organization—transforming it into a positive, employee-supportive tool.
Wipro provides pre-built employee journeys for all types of leaves while leveraging the cross-department integration and automation of the Now Platform. Building on standard plug-ins, such as ServiceNow HR Service Delivery workflows, for example, we enable personalization of content to create an employee experience that’s simple, accessible from wherever the employee is working, and customized for specialized industry, geographical, or language requirements. When your employees in Seattle initiate FMLA requests, you don’t have to worry that they’re going to see a New York application—personalized content automatically takes them through the requirements and entitlements specific to their state.
Higher eNPS scores, employee retention, protected investment
“The cost of not doing these things is far greater than the cost of doing them. CHROs need to focus on the talent continuum—hire to retire, and all the experiences in between. Without a thoughtful EX [employee experience] roadmap, employees won’t thrive and the organization may experience greater attrition, which is very costly.” ~Shane Driggers, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition and acting CHRO at ServiceNow2
The Now Platform is the engagement layer for your employees, connecting them to your various systems of record, simplifying management of the LOA process while ensuring essential integration of HR, IT, legal, and other stakeholders. For your workers, Wipro LOA pre-built journeys present a unified experience that shields employees from the confusing (and changing) details of all the various types of leaves they may request during their career and across the entire hire-to-retire timeline. Wipro can simplify mobile access and automatically pre-populate forms with otherwise hard-to-find information and links to a knowledge base for added guidance.
A single, consistent, unified experience layer can directly impact employee satisfaction. The aforementioned CHRO makes a point specifically related to onboarding an employee returning from a leave, suggesting that it’s one of the most short-changed stages of the LOA process. “LOA is a process of both offboarding and onboarding. Do those correctly and you’ll increase your eNPS score.”
With Wipro’s expertise in HR processes and the ServiceNow platform you can expect to:
Ready to see if your LOA experience could be improved? Take the quiz below:
If you answered “no” to any of the questions, I invite you to connect with me directly at email@example.com to learn more about how Wipro and ServiceNow together can help you create a consistent and personalized employee experience using our LOA solution. Transforming your LOA process may sound like a massive undertaking, but we’ve helped clients design and deploy solutions in as few as 90 days. We would also love to share information about our recruiting, onboarding, performance management, HR analytics, and travel and expense management solutions.
1 https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/amazon-hr-tech-employee-experience.aspx By Dave Zielinski, November 8, 2021
2 https://www.servicenow.com/workflow/employee-engagement/chro-roadmap-for-digital-employee-experience/ By Peter Burrows, November 25, 2020
General Manager, Global Offerings and Enablement Lead, Wipro ServiceNow Partnership
Dean Fairchild’s responsibilities at Wipro include defining go-to-market strategies, expanding geographic markets, and building global partner relationships. His areas of expertise range from data management to analytics, governance, and hybrid- and multi-cloud solutions. https://www.linkedin.com/in/deanfairchild/ @imDeanFairchild