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Outsourcing absence and disability management: Too scary?

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Outsourcing absence and disability management: Too scary?

February 26, 2021

Sometimes, when I’m presenting to HR leaders tasked with improving their absence and disability management strategy and I turn to the benefits of outsourcing models, I get a deeply skeptical look, as if to say, I don’t buy it!

I respect that look. Because outsourcing any vital element of a strategic organizational function isn’t a decision to be made lightly, without working through the pros, cons, risks and rewards. But unless you’re considering some form of outsourcing, the truth is, you are throwing bundles of money into a bonfire of fears that are largely unjustified.

There are several unfortunate myths that persist about outsourcing that ironically prevent some HR leaders from getting what they say they want: best-in-class absence and disability management.

  • Myth # 1: It’s too costly. Reality: There’s a tendency to look at the upfront costs, not the full business case. Classic “sticker shock” syndrome. Payback or ROI of 5:1 is a proven outcome with outsourcing models.
  • Myth # 2: We will lose control. Reality: You get much more control over your process with modern outsourcing solutions for enabling, managing and optimizing your approach to absence and disability management.
  • Myth # 3: Loss of confidential information. Reality: in truth, a legitimate third-party provider, whose proven expertise is protecting and securing data, is more likely to protect your information than your internal team, especially in this era of increasingly sophisticated cyberhacking threats.

Check out one of our Absence and Disability Management Case Studies and you’ll see what I mean. The benefits of outsourcing include:

  • Reduced costs - lower your labour costs and your hard capital expenditures by outsourcing to attain the expertise and access to technology that are the modern engine of best-in-class solutions.
  • Better employee support - many external benefit providers have deep internal and external networks of case managers, medical specialists, mental health professionals and caregivers that aren’t possible for you to replicate in your organization. Access to these specialized resources, increasingly, is a factor in helping absent or disabled employees return to work faster.
  • Management value - free up more of your own time from overseeing or managing routine support or administration activities to focus on more strategic matters
  • Preparation for tomorrow - working with external HR service providers pushing the innovation envelope. They’ll help you prepare for tomorrow today with new services that will ensure absence and disability management is a progressive dimension of your total people strategy.

And finally, it’s worth keeping in mind that outsourcing is a strategy that exists on a spectrum – or continuum. There is no one size fits all. You can outsource some elements of your program to start with, and graduate to doing more, all depending on your needs and your comfort level.

Ultimately, what I’m suggesting is that if you haven’t explored the business case for outsourcing your absence and disability management strategy, it’s time you looked a little closer. Because you really do want to stop throwing good money after bad – into that bonfire of fear.