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Employees may need to take a leave of absence (LOA) for a variety of reasons. Maybe they are having a baby, suffering from a serious health condition, or taking care of a sick family member. Whatever the case may be, each leave of absence is unique and requires an appropriate and efficient response.

Unfortunately, many organizations have clunky, unorganized leave of absence processes that end up causing employees additional anxiety during what is already an incredibly stressful time. At the same time, they lack formal, repeatable leave of absence workflows on the managerial side of the equation, causing managers to scramble to check every box and ensure compliance with relevant regulations and policies.

The good news is that by proactively improving your leave of absence process and embracing process digitization and automation, you can avoid unnecessary expenses, ensure productivity, and help your employees when they need it the most.

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Leave of Absence ebook cover

Chapter 1

Why a Managed Leave of Absence Process Is Important

Today’s leading organizations are increasingly using technology to build repeatable, reliable leave of absence workflows for many reasons, which we will examine below:

Maintaining Compliance

In our increasingly litigious age, managers certainly have their work cut out for them. Not only do they have to manage leave of absence processes, but they also need to comply with federal, state, and local regulations to avoid penalties.

Without the right processes and tools, an employee’s protected leave can turn into a management headache or—even worse—a non-compliance risk. Believe it or not, 60 percent of businesses are still using a workaround (e.g., a payroll system) to manage the leave of absence process. Unfortunately, this exposes the organization to additional and unnecessary compliance risks.

By embracing business process automation, digitizing the leave of absence workflow, and trusting proven technology to expedite the process for you, it’s possible to ensure compliance with each request.

Managing Costs

When employees take leave, unprepared organizations often deal with decreases in productivity because they cannot seamlessly fill shifts. In many cases, this is because they lack complete visibility into the leave of absence process, making it difficult to ensure that enough bodies are available when someone needs to take leave.

When organizations decide to manage the leave of absence internally with a manual process, employees spend a great deal of time managing Outlook reminders, updating Excel tracking sheets, checking and double-checking their process checklists, and distributing updates to colleagues. This takes time away from the productivity of other tasks and responsibilities. 

Some organizations then turn to outsourcing the process to an external vendor, but doing so can incur unnecessary expenses. Outsourcing LOA can cost upward of $400 per case! Although it might seem like an effective solution on paper, organizations that go this route are likely to lose hundreds of dollars as a result, even though the LOA process can be entirely automated.

Keeping Employees Happy

If your organization is still managing the leave of absence process by hand, your employees are likely frustrated. 

The process is mutually unenjoyable for the employee and the process manager. The employee who needs time off has to deal with an arduous, time-consuming, and potentially error-prone process during what is undoubtedly a difficult time, and the managing employee is stuck navigating a repetitive, manual process they know could be automated.

By embracing digitization and automating your leave of absence process, you make the experience easier on both sides of the equation. This increases the likelihood that all employees involved will stick around, which is a major advantage during a historic labor shortage

Now, let’s explore how traditional LOA tracking tools, like spreadsheets, fall short.

Chapter 2

Leave of Absences: Where Traditional Tools Fall Short

If your company is still managing the LOA process with spreadsheets, you are not alone. Let’s explore four reasons why the manual, paper-driven approach to managing leave of absences falls short:

Difficulty Reporting

When you’re relying on a manual process to manage leave of absence requests, it’s that much harder—if not impossible—to create robust reports that enable you to analyze trends and better predict the future. Instead, you’re left with a mountain of static data that exists in many different repositories, so you are unable to leverage it to its fullest extent.

Manual Updates

Without digital tools, employees are left manually updating leave of absence data and consolidating it from several sources. This substantially increases the likelihood that an individual makes a data entry error that adversely impacts the organization (e.g., failing to maintain compliance or ensure enough workers are available to cover for an employee on leave). 

Labor-Intensive Process

In an age when a plethora of digital tools illustrate how helpful and easy technology should be, the old-school manual approach to the leave of absence process leaves your HR team with undue strain. HR professionals are left to enter, review, and act on static data in an incredibly labor-intensive process that lends itself to incomplete and erroneous data. Notifications and automation are involved in most of what we do in our personal lives, so why not use these advancements in your business processes? 

Multiple Steps

Organizations that are still managing leave of absence requests the same way they’ve been doing it for years endure a laborious, multi-step process. For example, an HR professional might need to take different actions to generate forms, letters, or other documents. In a digitized process with streamlined workflows, they can take care of all these responsibilities in one step—or have a workflow take care of it on their behalf.

If your organization is still managing the leave of absence process in any of the above ways, it’s possible to transform your approach and gain an incredible amount of efficiency in your operations. With the right tools—such as a no-code platform—modernizing your approach to the leave of absence process is even, dare we say, easy.

Chapter 3

Pulpstream Can Deliver Next-Level Leave of Absence Management

Pulpstream is a logic-driven business process automation solution that enables employees to automate workflows in just a few clicks. With Pulpstream, it’s easy to digitize and automate the leave of absence process (or any business process for that matter), ensuring stakeholders have positive experiences, mitigating risks for your organization, and maintaining overall compliance. Let’s take a look at five ways Pulpstream can simplify your absence management.

1. Logic-driven workflows ensure cases get the right level of attention.

Tired of double and triple checking your paper-driven process to ensure you haven't missed any steps or important documentation? When you digitize your leave of absence process, you can rest comfortably knowing that each step receives the proper level of attention and that nothing gets lost in the ether. Pulpstream’s workflows and automatic reminders at every stage of the process ensure that employees are always notified about upcoming milestones—such as when their leave begins, when they’re about to return to work, if a case needs escalation, and whether they need to submit a document for approval. 

Flexible by design, Pulpstream also enables you to leverage built-in exception management so you can adjust as cases evolve. Because every case is unique, this is a must-have feature.

2. Integrated case management improves business intelligence.

Organizations still approaching absence management the old-fashioned way have to juggle a variety of data sources, forms, and certifications for each case. Pulpstream stores all information to one place, giving you the peace of mind of knowing your team has a 360-degree view of each case.

In turn, this facilitates collaboration across the organization. Having all data consolidated in one place makes it easier to summarize information about a particular case or produce robust reporting to analyze enterprise-wide trends and make data-driven decisions about the future.

3. Streamlined communication across all channels keeps teams aligned.

Pulpstream brings a modern communication experience to absence management. Employees can receive critical communications via email or SMS, making it easy for them to upload medical certificates and share requested documentation. 

Pulpstream enables process owners to create customizable dashboards that users can access via an intuitive self-service portal. All communications can be captured and stored in each employee’s record, centralizing all leave of absence information in one place.

4. A cloud-based platform ensures accessibility and availability.

As a cloud-based platform, Pulpstream enables organizations to accomplish more, with employees accessing the systems and workflows they need from any connected device. With powerful access controls, Pulpstream enables administrators to limit the data that each account can view and share, protecting privacy and keeping sensitive information secure. And with the cloud-based infrastructure, your team can be back up and running in no time following a business disruption.

At the same time, Pulpstream enables teammates to update and check statuses of their requests anywhere at any time, providing the convenience they need during what is likely a difficult time for them.

5. Built-in notifications keep internal and external stakeholders in the loop.

Thanks to Pulpstream, your team can stay in the loop in real time with built-in automatic notifications. It’s the easiest way to expedite your organization’s absence management process—much to the delight of both managers and employees. Not only can the platform notify employees when leave requests are denied due to a lack of corresponding documents, but it can also automatically alert stakeholders about upcoming tasks and milestones.

Pulpstream has the power to transform your approach to the leave of absence process. But its benefits don’t stop there. Next up, we will take a look at how Pulpstream can improve your business processes and drive a competitive advantage by accelerating your organization’s digital transformation efforts.

Chapter 4

Pulpstream: Build the Foundation for Enterprise Process Digitization

Pulpstream can help your organization optimize its leave of absence process—and the platform is capable of a lot more. Pulpstream can help your organization sunset legacy systems and manual workarounds that cause delays or inefficiencies, protecting your bottom line and helping you maintain compliance.

The leave of absence process doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it involves multiple other processes. When you have an inefficiency somewhere, there could be downstream effects elsewhere. For example, LOA includes long-term leave, intermittent absences, and the accommodation of employee job duties. All of these require that you keep track of different forms, communications, relevant parties, and dates.

With so many moving pieces in the LOA process, it is almost impossible to achieve a streamlined workflow when you manage it by hand. By digitizing as many of your processes as possible, you can flawlessly execute mission-critical workflows and ensure the relevant data you need to maintain compliance is automatically captured by your systems.

And the best part? Pulpstream enables organizations like yours to accelerate this digital transformation without writing a single line of code. 

As a no-code digitization platform, Pulpstream puts the power of process automation directly into the hands of the process owners themselves. This enables them to automate processes at their own pace instead of waiting on already-busy developers to build the automation for them. As a result, organizations can reduce the time, effort, and resources required to digitize processes that are central to their operations.

As a bonus, Pulpstream can integrate with the tools and systems your organization uses every day, thereby increasing data flow and enabling your business to make informed decisions.

Chapter 5

Embrace Process Digitization and Simplify Your Absence Management Today!

The way your organization manages the leave of absence process can reflect its overall level of efficiency. If you’re still using an outdated approach to absence management, chances are many other workflows could use a bit of a facelift too.

Instead of relying on a labor-intensive, error-prone process to facilitate leaves of absence—and potentially exposing your organization to risk because of it—you should strongly consider digitization to bring your organization into the modern era.

If you are tired of an inefficient LOA process, Pulpstream can help you create a customized solution that streamlines the entire process. This, in turn, takes busy work off of your team’s plates and makes a difficult situation a little less stressful for employees who need time off.

Ready to see the transformative power of Pulpstream in action?

Let us provide you with a proof of concept to show you how your LOA process could be optimized!

Download a PDF version of our Leave of Absence Process guide!

Leave of Absence ebook cover