Dentons is the world’s largest law firm by employee size and has 6 offices in the UK. Its UK HR Department initially approached e-days with specific goals for managing planned absence at a time when the firm was expanding, making their existing paper-based system unmanageable.
Part of the challenge involved addressing the limited visibility within existing absence processes, leading to increasing difficulty monitoring whether staff were taking all their leave entitlement. Managers across all areas also needed to have a snapshot of who was expected to be available to deliver workloads at any one time and when leave for others could be sanctioned.
In terms of recruitment and engagement Dentons was mindful of the changing needs and expectations of the highly mobile, highly connected workforce of today and wanted to make such processes streamlined, modern and accessible for its staff.
The data driven evidence e-days gives us will lead to more nuanced decision making aimed at supporting our employees’ health and wellbeing and improve their overall experience of working for the firm.
e-days “on-boarded” all Dentons’ UK staff in 2016 via a Data Upload process with the new user-friendly leave-booking system promoted alongside the company’s many other flexible benefits. One such benefit for staff turned out to be the ability to buy and sell holiday using the system, which proved popular.
Dentons and e-days collaborated throughout the project to decide how to package and configure the system to optimise ease of use for staff and to meet a number of the firm’s specific management needs associated with leave management.Download PDF
Once the planned leave system was implemented, Dentons began to identify how the system could go beyond holiday booking, for example logging overtime worked by support staff. Dentons also recognised that e-days could facilitate their aspirations for a function for sickness absence management, with the online logging of unplanned absences rolled out across the firm in January 2018.
Functionality has since expanded to include:
A wide variety of positive impacts have already been achieved and are being evaluated alongside use of the system to further strengthen Dentons’ welfare at work focus, attractiveness as an employer and overall efficiency. Better data access and visualistion is giving a clearer picture of absence related patterns and trends, enabling identification of what appears to be working well and where new or different interventions may be needed.
Turning holiday booking into a benefit.
e-days user-friendly holiday booking system has become part of the firm’s flexible benefit architecture, sitting well beside other rewards for the team’s ongoing commitment. In addition, managers can now see where people are consistently not taking their leave entitlement and decide how best to intervene.
Reducing unbalanced workloads
Managers in support departments are now better equipped to avoid overloading their teams when too many people are away at once. Week to week views support this while analytics help to identify patterns and peaks in holiday requests that need to be managed proactively from season to season.
Taking unnecessary stress out of sick leave
The firm promotes a trusting relationship with its employees concerning reporting reasons for sick leave but wanted to be able to trigger help and support where an individual may have an ongoing health problem. The new system enables individuals to easily log sickness using a menu based approach and for the data to go direct to HR, with a notice subsequently sent to their manager.
Better management of flexible working
Calendars and Rota tools help to smooth the flexible working experience for part time workers, who are mainly women ‘returners’ – a valuable asset the firm is keen to support. Better visibility of agreed hours is thought to be reducing pressure on work-life balance and helping with perceptions of contribution to the team.
Focus on workplace health and wellbeing
Dentons has an evolving programme of employee wellbeing interventions aimed at reducing unplanned absence. While e-days cannot usually pinpoint the exact cause and effect of individual initiatives, the system does enable their combined impacts on absence – and hence productivity – to be assessed.
This is helping to validate and better understand the business case for building the programme and to plan future occupational health support.