Absenteeism is a serious problem that faces many companies irrespective of their size, geographical location and the nature of their business. The American Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that unplanned absences cost American businesses approximately $74 billion per annum. If you think about it, that is enough money to run the economies of a number of developing countries for years. Labor is definitely expensive, but companies need not suffer from the inconveniences that come along with impecunious management of absence from the work place.
Today we share some helpful tips towards successful integration of automation into absence management.
1. Get it right from the very beginning
While there are thousands of absence management software solutions, it is useful to look around for the particular one which gives you maximum value for your money. By this I mean software that can be easily customized to the business, while balancing all the intricacies of the particular industry in which the business operates. Some programmers actually design systems which are specific to a certain line of operations and it is useful to check them out before deciding on which software to go with.
BreatheHR is an online system with centralized absence management component that enables you to pull the wires on employee absence and thereby reduce the cost incurred from sudden absence from the work place. It uses a centralized absence calendar as the core of its operation, is easy to use and generates reports which can be utilized by the management to monitor absence patterns. It is essential in spotting pickles early, long before they result in serious losses.
2. Be consistent in establishing policies
Most businesses which have surmounted the absence problem have not done so by sheer luck. A careful look will reveal that they have been very consistent when it comes to handling different situations, with well defined disciplinary measures or actions to be taken whenever certain situation arises. This makes it clear to the employees that specific actions will be taken against them in case they are absent from the workplace for a day or two or a month. This standardization also clearly states who will take the action. Some companies opt for a system which is departmentalized while others prefer involvement of all the concerned parties, including the top management. Whatever the case, the system is crystal clear on what needs to be done and when it has to be done.
3. Excellent employees have to be replaced with other excellent employees
With automation it becomes easier to replace employees when need arises. The truth of the matter is that it is not an easy decision, but nevertheless, it has to be done. A-class employees have to be replaced with A-class employees. By using automated absence software it becomes easier to identify people who are best suited to step up into the shoes of the absent employees, even when the replacement has to be done within a short interval.
4. Do not just act on the data generated from the automated system, act appropriately
Absence management system can be used to effectively uncover problems. Most software will generate reports with detailed trend analysis of absence from work. While it would be negligent for the management to turn a blind eye on such reports even when they highlight obvious patterns, it is not enough to just act. Carnivals are well known for their precision when it comes to making a kill; the timing has to be perfect and the amount of energy used has to directed at acquiring a meal. Businesses should be no different. The action taken must be felicitous, and the timing has to be perfect.
5. Use automation to fully understand the factors contributing to absenteeism
Businesses operate in a diverse environment where social, cultural and economic conditions change from time to time. Weather conditions are sometimes pertinent towards employees reporting to work late while social circumstances may also play a role. For example, an employee may be chronically late during those days when it is rainy and snowy while another may be absent from work at the start of the week following a weekend of heavy indulgence in alcohol. Identifying such factors may be key to absence management. With a clear understanding of these factors, it becomes easy to manipulate them in favor of the business. Timely and efficient actions can then be taken.
Ed Smith is an HR consultant with several years of experience in HT automation. Ed uses BreatheHR Absence Management System, a cloud service that makes absence management accessible from virtually anywhere.