Process Improvement - LOA Headaches

Situation: When a large organization shifted from decentralized in-house administration of leaves of absence to an outsourced model, headaches ensued, and a process improvement initiative was needed.   The idea was to get local HR business partners out of the LOA business, provide centralized expertise and support for line supervisors, improve service, and reduce costs. What happened was the opposite - supervisors spent more time in administration, HR became trapped in managing escalations, employees were frustrated, and HR leadership got a black eye…

Approach Taken: After gaining support from HR leaders, a day-long meeting of stakeholders was organized for the purpose of identifying problems and developing actionable solutions. Two dozen nominated participants included HR business partners from multiple business segments and geographies, representatives from the outsourced vendor, and the HR service delivery call center team. More senior managers were excluded in favor of participants who dealt with the issues on a day-to-day basis and had first-hand experience with the impact to employees and the business.

Results: Using pre-work to identify pain points, the workshop focused on problems related to process, education, and communications that were generating the vast majority of issues. To ensure a productive use of time, three sets of teams, each including HR, vendor reps, and the HR Service Center, worked simultaneously to define problems and brainstorm solutions. The day-long workshop generated roughly thirty recommendations, of which more than fifteen were implemented over the next six months. As a result of these efforts, complaints from employees and managers decreased significantly, and HR Business Partners were able to focus on more strategic activities.