The need to improve recruiting and retention has affected employee benefits and workforce absence management rather considerably these past two years, in some cases resulting in more liberal policies on hybrid work, paid time off (PTO) and observed holidays.
HUB International’s 2023 Workforce Absence Management Survey, which surveyed 514 employers with 50 to 1,000 employees, found that remote and hybrid work trends continue, with more companies making these options standard. These same employers are also providing additional paid holidays and PTO.
The survey found that employers are implementing these changes largely to stay competitive in the ongoing battle to attract and keep top talent. And employers say they’re likely to implement more changes in absence management to improve the work environment.
NOTABLE FINDINGSNotable findings from HUB’s biennial survey include the following:
- Working from home is the rule, not the exception. More than half (53%) of respondents allow remote work, mostly through hybrid work arrangements. Of those allowing hybrid work, 73% say remote workers are just as effective as in-office employees and workplace flexibility improves both recruiting and retention.
- Additional paid holidays take hold. Nearly one-quarter of employers have added holidays, compared with 14% in 2021. Worth mentioning is that 24% now have Juneteenth as a paid holiday, compared with only 5% two years earlier.
- More PTO becomes more SOP. Twenty-three percent of organizations changed paid time off (PTO) programs, and of those, 56% increased paid time off days provided. Companies that increased PTO cited taking care of employees as the top reason for extending this benefit, followed by the desire to be more competitive in recruiting and retention.
- PPL remains static. Paid parental leave (PPL) practices are little changed from 2021, with a quarter of respondents offering it, and 70% providing the same level of benefits to all employee groups.
- FMLA and leave administration also remain the same. Similar to results from the 2021 survey, 90% of employers are eligible for FMLA requirements, with 70% discontinuing group benefits at the end of the month that FMLA expires.
KEEPING UP WITH THE FINDINGSHere are five (5) steps to keep up with the findings;
- Align policy with goals. It’s imperative your organization’s absence management policies align with HR and business goals. Reviewing leave of absence policies to determine if they help meet goals is an essential first step in having a truly effective program.
- Benchmarking counts. Practices of other companies — competitors or otherwise — are a good barometer of how an organization measures up. If possible, identify organizations with similar goals for benchmarking.
- Remove the confusion. Employees don’t always understand their options in absence management programs. Providing clarity on how policies work and the implications for employees can transform absence programs into powerful retention tools.
- Precedents matter. Going the extra mile to assist individual employees during their leaves may be well intended, but that may require employers to extend similar considerations for all employees in order to stay compliant with local, state, and federal laws.
- Leverage data and analytics. A holistic benefits strategy encompasses everything from PTO to health and wealth benefits. Data and analytics tools like HUB’s Workforce Persona Analysis can help your organization get the most out of its absence management policies, while an approach to creating Quality Employee Experiences (QEX) through benefits will improve employee engagement.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
HUB International’s expertise in workforce absence management helps organizations gain and maintain a competitive advantage in recruiting and retention. Contact our specialists to learn more.