Navigating Implementation of an Absence Management System
By Karen English
Spring Consulting Group
By Teri Weber
Spring Consulting Group
We live in an age of instant gratification in which business-to-consumer (B2C) technology makes it easy to start an online account and make purchases. Unfortunately, business-to-business (B2B) onboarding requires much more time, effort, and clarification.
Tactical blunders and less-than-strategic programs resulting from outdated application and contracting processes frustrate both employers and vendors. Cracking the code on employer onboarding will translate to successful absence management outcomes and stronger B2B relationships that will withstand the test of time.
Spring’s annual research1 indicates that the average time to implement an integrated program is 120 days (four months). This has increased by 50% since 2016. For larger and more complex employers, an elapsed timeline is often closer to six months. During that time, clients and vendor partners are interacting routinely to agree on the details of the program. They spend hours on the nuts and bolts of plan design; the intake, claim, and case management process; and the technology support to achieve implementation targets.
However, implementation is not just a process; the most successful absence management programs start with shared vision and goals. This is the first impression an employer has of their new vendor partner, and sometimes it’s the only impression that remains. While vendors try to be responsive to employers, they need a clear picture of the employer’s priorities, and they need employers to play an active role in the implementation. To create an optimal onboarding experience, it is important to:
- Assemble a strong, nimble team.
- Meet partners where they are.
- Match team communication styles.
- Automate whenever possible.
- Prioritize relationship management.
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