Last year, our parent company, Presagia, was honored to contribute a column in each issue of the Disability Management Employer Coalition's (DMEC) publication, @Work Magazine. The column, The Pillars of Leave Management, has explored several core elements of a strong absence management strategy, which we're sharing in this blog series!
If you haven't already, we recommend that before reading this blog, you check out the first five pillars that we've already posted:
In this sixth and final column, we discuss the role of a task bank in the ADA accommodation process and how you can begin to develop your own.
Pillar 6: Adding A Task Bank To Your SAW/RTW Game
As the shift to a knowledge-based economy continues, employees become increasingly valuable to their employers, and retention becomes a key factor in company success. Studies have shown that the average cost of turnover is 33% of an employee’s salary, equating to $15,000. However, for highly paid and more senior jobs, the percentage can rise to 213%. This demonstrates the need to focus on strategies that keep employees engaged in the workplace. The stay-at-work/return-to-work (SAW/RTW) program is one such strategy, and for the sixth pillar in this column, we’ll examine an often-overlooked SAW/RTW resource: the task bank.
During the ADA interactive process, we tend to focus on accommodations like providing leave, reducing schedules, modifying work, and providing adaptive equipment. But what happens when your employee still can’t perform the essential functions of the job? Recognize that this valuable team member in whom you’ve invested might be able to perform another role temporarily!
This is where the task bank comes in; a task bank is a database of tasks that need to be performed in your organization on a temporary basis. This work can be used to keep employees engaged in the workplace by matching them with tasks aligning to their current physical and cognitive abilities. This provides the employee with interim work that progressively matches their abilities until they can perform a permanent position.
To begin developing a task bank, identify your key stakeholders. Typically, the absence and disability management team is the driving force. The human resources team holds valuable knowledge about the types of jobs across your company, while supervisors know specific jobs and skill sets in their departments. Executives need to understand the bottom line value and lend their support to promote the task bank. Rounding out the group is the employee population who needs to know that this resource is available.
Next, look for tasks. These are activities that:
- no one has time to do;
- are short-term projects;
- would allow other employees to focus on their higher priority work;
- are valuable to a department; and
- meet business needs.
The task bank is a dynamic tool, and you should train supervisors and others to automatically add new tasks as they become available. Make sure you capture the following information for each identified task:
- Task name
- Description of work
- Education or training requirements
- Work hours and dates
- Name of supervisor
- Detailed essential functions to compare to an employee’s current abilities
In addition to capturing and managing tasks, it’s important to keep sight of the processes that underpin your task bank, including:
- Stakeholder collaboration
- Efficient methods to add and delete tasks
- Training for employees and supervisors
- Continuous progress reviews of employees performing transitional work
Your task bank will require ongoing maintenance. You should continually look for ways to adapt the tasks to the specific needs of your workforce in order to keep your valuable employees on the job. And there are even bigger payoffs; a successful task bank can help drive a fundamental shift from focusing on an employee’s disabilities to instead looking for their abilities.
Read The Other Blog Posts In This Series: