However, fewer employers cited this as the main concern than in SHRM’s 2004 survey, according to its report on the survey findings. Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents cited uncertainty about time away as the main concern versus 86% who did so in the 2004 survey.
The percentage of employers who cited finding a comparable job for returning employees a challenge also declined slightly to 15% from 16% in the 2004 study. The percentage who cited the effect on active duty employees’ families, such as providing employee assistance programs and offering COBRA, as a challenge remained the same at 24%.
Other factors have become a greater concern to employers than in 2004. Other survey results included:
- 60% cited the burden on remaining employees to cover the open positions in 2006; 52% cited this factor in 2004.
- 25% cited the loss of productivity in 2006; 16% noted this in 2004.
- 23% cited the challenge of finding temporary workers for open positions in 2006; 19% noted this in 2004.
- 14% cited the emotional toll on employees who remain behind in 2006; 3% noted this in 2004.
- 35% cited continuation costs for employees called to active duty, such as salary and benefits in 2006; 32% noted this in 2004.
- 17% cited temporary worker costs for open positions in 2006; 13% noted this in 2004.
The 327 human resource professionals surveyed were allowed to choose more than one concern from SHRM’s listing. Other concerns noted by the respondents were:
- complying with state and federal mandates;
- coordinating and communicating with employees on their return and status;
- management handling military leave properly;
- understanding the company’s obligations to employees on active duty; and
- employees returning to work for one day to collect monies earned during their time away and then quitting.