Transforming the leave experience through real-time data connectivity

September 20, 2023

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Episode details

Curt Burghardt and Denise Ferguson, Unum HR leaders and people analytics experts, explore how real-time data connectivity with leave and absence information transforms efficiency, transparency and downstream processes for employers managing leave in Workday®.

  • People analytics is more than just basic reporting. With the data available to Unum as Workday users, the company has begun using that data to influence decision making across the organization. For example, Unum can correlate learnings from its employee engagement surveys with employee data in Workday to identify trends that can help solve problems with retention and engagement. [03:49]

  • Real-time connectivity simplifies leave processes. The ability to integrate data from Unum's leave management solution with an employer's Workday system has greatly simplified the complexity of leave management processes. [06:42]

    • In the old days, every step in the leave process involved multiple manual touchpoints, from multiple systems and vendors, creating inefficiencies, time lags and errors.
    • Unum partnered with Workday to deeply integrate leave management data into the Workday system, so employers can not only keep tabs on an employee's leave in their HR system of record, they also have more accurate and timely processing of pay for employees on leave, aligned with the company's pay and leave policies.
    • Unum's experience managing leave for its own employees while using Workday allowed it to identify issues other users would encounter and continually refine the connection with Workday.

  • Simplicity saves time and creates a better experience. Chasing down errors in leaves and pay takes "an astronomical" amount of time, according to Burghardt. And headaches like those can come at the worst possible time for an employee who is taking leave for challenging reasons. "Making the experience as seamless as possible in those moments that matter, when an employee is at their worst" — that's a win, according to Ferguson. [08:33]

  • Connectivity helps solve the challenge of intermittent leave. Intermittent leave is famously complex and time-consuming for employers, especially if they are using manual processes. Correctly coding absences is tricky, with cascading effects — including compliance issues — if done incorrectly. [10:24]

    • Real-time connectivity ensures that the employer's Workday system has the most up-to-date information on the leave and automates the coding, ensuring that the employer is compliant, paychecks are correct and the employee always knows how much leave of which type they have left in their leave bank.
    • Automation builds in the employer's leave policies so those are followed without confusion.
    • Unum's leave management solution allows employees to log their hours directly into the solution, which further simplifies the process and creates a better experience for the employee and HR.

  • Unum's connection to Workday is powered by Unum HR Connect, which also streamlines and automates enrollment, evidence of insurability, billing and portability. Learn more.

WORKDAY and the WORKDAY logo are trademarks of Workday, Inc., registered in the United States and elsewhere. All other brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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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Headshot of Curt Burghardt

Curt Burghardt

Vice President, People Delivery Group, Unum

In his role as Vice President of the People Delivery Group at Unum, Curt Burghardt drives how the organization leverages cutting-edge technology to transform the employee experience — among our own employees and in close partnership with key business partners and customer-facing initiatives. Curt lives in Portland, Maine with his wife and their two children. He has lived across the United States — from Hawaii to Boston and several places in between, including Chicago, San Francisco and Denver — during his previous roles with both Walgreens and United Airlines.

Headshot of Denise Ferguson

Denise Ferguson

Assistant Vice President, People & Communications Technology, Unum

Denise Ferguson is the AVP of People & Communications Technology. She joined Unum in April of 2015 as the AVP of HR Technology. Her responsibilities include enabling strategy through the use of cutting-edge technology and delivery of the technology roadmap for human resources, diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility and corporate communications. Prior to her role at Unum, Denise was the Senior Director of Human Resources Information Systems for Smith & Nephew. Before moving into dedicated technology roles, Denise held various functional HR roles in recruiting and compensation, and served as a HRBP and HR Manager for RSA Security, Inc. in Bedford, Massachusetts. Denise earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Boston University.

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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