Avoiding the adverse risks of absence: Part one – Operational

By Tom Whiley | Absence | 3 min read

Your business’s approach to managing absence carries inherent risks.

Take the wrong approach to absence management, and you can expect to encounter a range of problems that’ll cost you in many ways.

These problems might be operational, financial, or reputational.

Let’s first take a look at the operational problems that can stem from a poor absence management policy.

The old fashioned way

Many businesses rely on paper forms, spreadsheets, and emails to manage absence. A stunning 40% of organizations have stuck to the spreadsheet and paper trail out of tradition and habit as their main tracking mechanism (Source: Fosway Group).

With this approach, every single aspect of absence management will be a huge time drain for everyone. HR will have to do manual leave calculations for every employee across every location.

Indeed, doing things on paper means doing everything by hand: Carrying over leave entitlement, running return-to-work processes, managing paid and unpaid absence categories, and handling employee under and over-payments. There’ll be a huge capacity for error. And when it comes to payroll, even small mistakes can have dire financial consequences.

The lack of centralized visibility makes it difficult to access your key absence data insights. You’ll struggle to make absence trend predictions. You might also see resourcing issues and absence bottlenecks, so you could end up understaffed at key times of the year.

So close, yet so far

Some businesses have realized the limitations of paper-based absence management systems. So they’ve instead switched to using a core HR system to manage absence. Others might use multiple HR systems to manage everything, from payroll to onboarding.

These systems can be powerful in themselves. Through automating processes they can save time and while removing the possibility of human error.

But, the problem is that these systems don’t talk to each other. You might have to rely on supplementary spreadsheets for certain reporting processes, or manual data entry any time an employee’s routine doesn’t match the standard 9-5.

You’ll find it easier to access your data and analytics than you would be using a spreadsheet alone. But you might struggle to drill down into your data. As such, you might still be limited in the sort of informed business decisions you can make.

The streamlined approach

So what does good absence management look like?

Just ask ASOS. They switched from paper absence forms to the automated Edays online self-service tool. They now save 70 minutes of admin time per absence.

They’ve leveraged their data absence to achieve lower absence rates with a correspondingly lower impact on business performance. What’s more, they now have a streamlined HR ecosystem with integrated HR, payroll, and absence data. This means they can depend on company-wide absence reporting to make more intelligent business growth decisions.

asos case study

What’s your absence risk profile?

Depending on how you manage absence, your business fits into one of three absence risk profiles – hazard, sufferer, or trailblazer.

Take the wrong approach to absence management and any complication can cause a domino effect of problems that’ll grind your business to a halt.

Yet if you take a trailblazing attitude to absence management, you can streamline your processes and enjoy unparalleled efficiency and productivity.

Head here to get your free absence risk profile report, and discover the powerful relationship between good absence management and streamlined operational efficiency.

absence risk profile