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Absence & Disability Management – Convincing Your Senior Leadership to Invest

December 15th, 2021, by ShaunTeah L. Radcliffe, CPDM

$6.2 million, $8.6 million, $20 million, $125 million, $125 million, $175 million, what do all these numbers have in common?  Are they lottery jackpot payouts?  Close but not quite. These are dollar amounts that medium to large corporations have paid out as settlements for missteps in the absence and disability space.

Absence and disability management is a highly regulated area with many loopholes and plenty of opportunities not to get it right. Unfortunately, many organizations may follow that adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As a result, the absence and disability area, although an essential part of organizational compliance, flies under the radar and is overlooked until the EEOC comes a-knocking.  Just remember, even a well-oiled machine requires some form of maintenance to keep it in working order, and it can’t be overlooked forever. Otherwise, as we have proven in the introduction, a blind eye may have dire dollar consequences.

How do you get your senior leaders excited about investing in this area? How do you ensure that you have the correct size team to meet your organization’s absence and disability demands?  How do you educate your managers to spot potential exposure and engage absence and disability professionals early in the process? Finally, how do you ensure that your team and your organization can quickly adapt to the ever-changing federal, state, and even local regulations in this area?

You can use attention grabbers like I did because money definitely talks.

However, the more profound question is beyond the dollar signs. It is often difficult to justify spending when you cannot quantify actual dollar savings because regular payroll expenses often mask absence and disability costs.  Absence and Disability Professionals are in a unique situation. They are at the level where they can gather valuable information and insight from a diverse group of managers, human resources representatives, and employees to detect when processes may not work or where there are gaps in synergies.  So how do we take these learnings and feed them up the chain so that this valuable information becomes useful to senior leaders?

Does your organization support a culture where ideas can be presented up the chain?  If not, what’s the workaround?  How will improving the absence and disability space in your organization improve employee morale, reduce wellness and benefits costs, reduce temporary labor costs and increase and maintain productivity when those unplanned absences occur so that the business continues without missing a beat?

We can’t answer all of the absence and disability management questions in this short blog post, but have I piqued your interest?  Have you started to ask yourself questions about available resources to assist with solving how to get senior leadership’s attention?

The three-part Certified Professional Disability Management (CPDM) course explores these questions and many more.

ShaunTeah Radcliffe

ShaunTeah L. Radcliffe, CPDM is a subject matter expert in absence and disability management with more than 10 years of professional experience in managing and training professionals to ensure compliance and resolution of complex leave of absence and workplace accommodation requests. ShaunTeah is a contributor to the development of IEA’s newly revamped Certified Professional in Disability Management (CPDM) curriculum.

About IEA

The Insurance Education (IEA) is the leading provider of professional development programs in Workers’ Compensation, Disability Management, Risk Management and Human Resources.