When we think of employees taking time off it is usually thought that they have requested this holiday themselves, as a time to relax and to see family and friends. However, this is not always the case. For some financial institutions, a rule is observed, where employees are asked to take a prolonged period of time off, usually up to 10 days, of consecutive holiday.
Of course, during this span, those individuals may do as they wish with their free time, but the reason is for compliance and fraud prevention, and one where organisations are able to regulate and access accounts to ensure everything is as it should be. The issue first came to light, when in 2007 a trader at Société Générale lost over $7 billion. He explained when he was caught that he had deliberately not taken any holiday that year so as to hide what he was doing. Had e-days software been in place, the issue would have been flagged, and the trader in question asked to take his annual leave.
However, there is no denying that managing this is an administration nightmare! And in many cases, this doesn’t happen, as it is tricky to enforce and hard to keep track of. Below are two easy ways for companies to promote best practice within their organisation.
Ditch your spreadsheets
For a company operating in the financial services sector, this might seem counterintuitive, but Excel spreadsheets are not the best way to manage and handle staff absence. In a recent e-days survey, 1 in 3 respondents stated they still tracked their staff absence manually, using spreadsheets or paper forms. Not only is this time consuming and admin heavy for the teams that handle them, but could potentially be missing individuals that are bypassing protocols in place to mitigate cases of fraud.
Absence management software will allow management and HR personnel more time to focus on their jobs rather than being distracted by admin. In the case of e-days, with a report function built for this purpose, it is possible to highlight which individuals have not taken any significant annual leave and is easy to use and access for both employee and manager alike.
If a business is seriously attempting to tackle fraud within their organisation head-on, then one way to do this is to encourage time off, and promote this internally. With a reputation for long hours and hard work, it can be difficult for financial institutions, in particular, to motivate employees who see their colleagues working late, head down, week in week out, to take time out to relax.
This is not a topic that is easy to discuss, but fostering a culture from the outset that encourages hard work and time off, will not only help spot any anomalies and ‘red flags’ in an organisation that may need to be investigated but will also promote a healthy environment where the staff is looking after their wellbeing too.
The benefits of sending your employees on holiday are huge and are more extensive than just fraud prevention. Wellbeing and mental health issues have only continued to increase in 2020, and many employees will count themselves lucky to be in paid work in this business landscape. It is the responsibility of an employer to encourage a healthy work-life balance, and absence management is part of this process, helping to prioritise both for the good of the workforce and their processes too.