HRO Today October 2019 - 41

D&I
The Standard's Absence and Disability Readiness
Index found that just 38% of HR managers
surveyed felt ready to support the needs of remote
workers and only 16% felt ready to address
part-time employees and gig workers.
they support. Research fi nds that a robust disability
management approach-programs that provide
individualized care through stay-at-work and return-towork
support-can create the conditions remote and parttime
workers need to successfully bring them back to work
sooner.
For example, an employee with a musculoskeletal
condition may be working remotely and not have the
proper equipment to manage their condition and
pain. Having a program in place that can work with
the employee to identify the best equipment-such as
reviewing and discussing various sit-stand work station
options-and providing that equipment for the employee
can ensure they are able to continue working and their
condition does not deteriorate. Of employers with formal
programs in The Standard's research, 32 percent averaged
better employee productivity, 36 percent averaged higher
workplace morale, and 40 percent averaged improved
employee retention.
Collaboration between medical, disability, and employee
assistance partners is key to creating adequate support
for these issues and helping affected employees stay
productive. And the investment in proactively addressing
these employee needs tends to outweigh the costs. The
Index found that nearly 70 percent of HR decision-makers
at large companies and one-third at small companies say
they've experienced complaints or lawsuits related to
their disability management practices. And 92 percent of
all respondents report that formal employee disability
programs have helped control costs and reduced exposure
to risk.
Putting an Absence and Disability Plan into Action
The benefi ts of a comprehensive absence and disability
management plan are clear. Consider the following steps
in order to put a plan into action to bolster strategies and
prevent attrition of talent.
1. Provide return-to-work support. Fewer than half of the
employers in The Standard's research had formal returnto-work
programs in place. Putting one on the agenda is a
great area in which to start.
2. Manage accommodations. Be sure to provide the
appropriate resources to returning employees.
3. Comply with legal regulations. Programs need to meet
regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act
Amendments Act (ADAAA) to maintain compliance.
4. Start measuring. Only about one-third of employers
with formal programs measure their performance. Start
by benchmarking key components of the absence and
disability programs.
5. Better coordinate program components. Organizations
may have a great suite of benefi t offerings, but the
different pieces often aren't coordinated well, and
employees aren't aware of the program components.
Ensure workers understand the programs that are in place
and what they encompass.
Addressing the needs of nontraditional workers should
be a top priority for companies looking to retain quality
employees. By providing the support workers need to
remain in their positions, this will help them to stay
productive even during or after trying times.
Melissa Oliver-Janiak is the HR director of benefi ts at The Standard.
OCTOBER 2019 | www.hrotoday.com
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HRO Today October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HRO Today October 2019

HRO Today October 2019 - 1
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