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Episode details

Yesterday’s leave and absence management programs aren’t working for today’s workforce – or the workforce of the future. Employers face significant challenges managing employee leave and HR compliance, from evolving complex regulations, to competition for highly skilled employees and an ongoing global health crisis. In this episode, leave and absence management experts Matthew Howes of Aon and Susan Stowell and Marci Cyr from Unum explore these challenges and share the fundamentals of building a modern strategy.

  • The need for companies to have a strategic leave and absence management program has increased over recent years – and only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Employees are looking for employers with comprehensive time-away programs, allowing them to meet their responsibilities at home and achieve their goals in the workplace. (02:30)
  • Most employers are unaware of how leave programs work together as a whole system or the costs associated with these programs. As a result, many companies struggle to have a comprehensive approach or strategy, negatively impacting their balance sheets. (03:53)
  • In today’s market, many employers are looking to solve their leave management pain points involving: (05:58)
    • Maintaining regulatory compliance
    • Managing intermittent leaves or absences
    • Maximizing workforce productivity
  • There are three different major categories to fundamentally transform a leave and absence management approach: (08:12)
    • Finding an efficient and effective compliance solution
    • Aligning and redesigning programs to make sure they work holistically versus fragmented parts
    • Creating a program to compete in the marketplace for top talent
  • Leave programs are a major part of a company’s brand and corporate culture that reflect internally with employees and externally with the market. Employers need competitive leave programs for recruiting and retaining skilled employees as work-life balance continues to be a major priority for today’s workforce. (09:31)
  • When it comes to corporate leave policies and programs, employers should take a holistic view to make sure the entire program is working efficiently and effectively – and take a more proactive approach to leave strategy planning and understanding the different components of paid leave. (10:29)

Learn more from our leave experts during the SHRM webinar, Building a leave and absence strategy for the future. Register today.

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Leave and absence management

Introducing Unum Total Leave™

Total Leave helps streamline absence management for HR while making leave easy and accessible for employees.

Matt Howes headshot

Matthew Howes

Vice President, Time Away & Life Solutions Practice, Aon

Matthew Howes is an expert in leave, life and disability for Aon’s Time Away and Life Solutions practice, serving underwriting, marketing, implementation and renewal efforts for clients. He provides expertise in serving clients as they navigate the complexity of absence management, including the development of policy and procedures, PTO harmonization, compliance to manage paid sick leaves, disability, FMLA, Paid Family Leave, and various state and local leave regulations. 

Susan Stowell headshot

Susan Stowell

Vice President, Absence Management Offering, Unum 

Susan Stowell drives the strategic vision for new enhancements to Unum’s leave and absence portfolio, guiding investments that improve the user experience with a modern, digital toolset. In this role, Susan interacts with customers across the United States in helping to solve their greatest leave management pain points and driving their strategic vision and digital intelligence. Previously, Susan led Unum’s Workforce Solutions consulting team, positively impacting customers’ experiences with unplanned absences. She has also worked extensively in healthcare. 

Marci Cyr headshot

Marci Cyr

Assistant Vice President, Leave Transformation, Unum 

Marci Cyr has spent the past two years focused on transforming Unum’s approach to leave and absence management. Although primarily focused on Unum’s policies, processes, and employee experience as an employer, Marci also partners closely with her Unum business partners to provide the client perspective as input to the ongoing design of future leave administration services. She draws from her diverse business experience in leave management and policies, strategic business and IT planning, organizational design, transformational change management, program management and communications.

About the host

Clare Morin headshot

Clare Morin

Unum Content Marketing Manager

Clare Morin is the Content Marketing Manager at Unum and a journalist who’s spent the last 20 years interviewing hundreds of thought leaders on topics ranging from wellness to culture, finance, human resources and technology. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and based in the U.S. since 2009, she brings a global outlook to the HR Trends studio.

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