The good, the bad and the ugly: Improving the employee leave experience

December 14, 2022

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Episode details

Leave has never been more important to employees than it is right now. But HR has also never had more on its plate. Listen as Unum leave experts discuss the policies, practices and technology that can make the difference between a best-in-class employee leave experience and one that misses the mark, putting your attraction and retention efforts at risk.

  • A perfect storm. Rising employee expectations, a tough labor market and increasing legal complexity are creating a perfect storm for leave management professionals. HR's role has become increasingly strategic, and they can't spend time being bogged down in managing administrative tasks. [02:52]

  • Emerging importance of employee experience. Nationally, employers have shifted from focusing on paid leave to making the leave experience easier and more personalized. [05:35]

  • Bad experiences work against your recruitment and retention goals. If you have great policies, but people don't know about them or you make it hard to use them, that's a bad experience. Education and ease of use are critical to success. Employers also need to have holistic policies that address their entire employee population, instead of just focusing on families with children. For example, caregiving needs are growing for employees with aging parents. [07:32]

  • Combine self-service, planning tools and human interaction for the best experience. Compliance is important, but don't forget that every leave represents a challenging life event for employees. Make sure they have the information and resources they need, easily accessible and on multiple channels, to feel confident in taking leave. Solutions like Unum Leave Logic reflect the need to craft experiences that mirror the ones employees are using outside of work, as consumers. [10:15]

  • Look for ways to take the burden off HR's shoulders. Solutions like Unum Total Leave can scale your processes, freeing you from Excel spreadsheets and repetitive tasks so you can take the time to create a positive, personalized experience for your employees, while ensuring you're in compliance with all relevant laws. The result will be higher retention and more people returning from leave ready to work. [14:06]

Future of leave guide


The Future of Leave Guide

This guide gives employers the tools they need to innovate and streamline to create a future-forward leave and absence management strategy.

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Ellen McCann headshot

Ellen McCann

Assistant Vice President, Leave Solutions, Unum Group

Ellen McCann serves as a leading expert in applying benefits and benefits technology to power modern solutions to more effective employee leave programs, stronger regulatory compliance and enhanced digital HR transformation. In this role, she combines more than 30 years of employment law experience with practical knowledge of the complexities of leave and accommodation management to help develop and create solutions that enable employers to address the challenges of leave and accommodations. She is an acclaimed national speaker on leave management issues including FMLA and ADA, and is a certified trainer for SHRM and CE credit.

Miyuki Iwahashi headshot

Miyuki Iwahashi

Assistant Vice President, Leave Tech Solutions, Unum Group

Miyuki Iwahashi drives the product strategy for new enhancements for Unum Leave Logic — an industry-leading leave education and planning SaaS solution — and supports initiatives for Unum's rapidly expanding solutions business. In this role, Miyuki interacts with employers, employees and partners to understand how technology solutions can enhance the employee experience and revolutionize the future of leave in the workplace. Prior to joining Unum, Miyuki pioneered innovative employee programs, including a redesign of an employee-centered leave program and was recognized for her work.

About the host

Clare Morin headshot

Clare Morin

Content Marketing Manager, Unum

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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If you need legal advice on a particular situation, please contact your own attorney.