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The Gender Absence Gap: How to Invest in Women in the Workplace

The Gender Absence Gap: How to Invest in Women in the Workplace

What is the gender absence gap, and how can organisations address it?

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How Absence Management is Aiding Business Growth

24 May 2021 6 min read

hr manager using absence management software

Recently, edays hosted a webinar about how absence management is aiding business growth. We were fortunate to be joined by Kara Nixon, Head of People Services at Coca-Cola European Partners, Ian Reece, HRA L&D at Filtermist.

A recording of the webinar is available here, but we wanted to summarise the key takeaways discussed, and share some of the valuable insight both Kara and Ian offered during our discussion. If you want to know how HR and Absence Management can help your business to grow, then discover our top tips for you to consider below:

1 – Getting the right people on the bus: recruiting and retaining the best people

When growing, being flexible enough to hire the right people regardless of where they are located, being merger and acquisition ready, offering remote working, and exploring creative changes to EVP is really important.

For Filtermist, who rapidly grew from 30 people to 260 people in the space of a year, and had traditionally operated on a paper-based system, the writing was on the wall: the need for changes was obvious. For those responsible for absence, far too much time was spent handling and administering forms. Ian told us that the edays system completely transformed the way they were handling absence in the business. Employees and managers gained greater autonomy of their absence schedules, and the business as a whole has been able to use the edays reporting functions to produce weekly KPIs and understand attendance better.

Ian Reece “We’ve gone from the dark ages into the 21st Century”

2 – Cultivating the growth culture with a consistent employee experience

It’s very common for us to hear from customers that they want to improve the employee experience but aren’t too sure where to start. Absence corresponds with key moments in employees’ lives, whether that be sickness, honeymoons, holidays, or bereavement. Having a positive culture around absence ensures the workforce is supported during important times in their lives.

Business chair with out of office sign


Kara Nixon at Coca-Cola European Partners told us there was a real focus on culture within the business, due in part to its history of mergers and acquisitions. Starting with leadership, Coca-Cola European Partners introduced training sessions for the entire business, about company culture and what they wanted the company to be, and how everyone had a part to play.

Kara explained that, over the last 12 months, wellbeing training for managers and flexibility has been key for the business . With edays’ support they had been able to ‘dig deeper’ into issues which may not have presented themselves initially, and certainly not in a socially distanced world.

3 – Robust Compliance & Keeping up with Laws and Regulation

How secure is your data? Spreadsheets and paper based forms have a very low level of security, and in different countries it differs as to whether this style of data keeping is even legal.

Equally, payroll can be tricky when expanding into different territories where time off is calculated differently. For example, Singapore, Denmark, and the US, all have different rules to address, and its key companies and HR teams stay up to date.

Kara told us that, with the history of acquisition at Coca-Cola, they had inherited a network of disjointed bottlers. For example, in Spain, they had acquired 25 different legal entities which were effectively small family-run businesses, and there was a huge variety of policies in absence with these. This is actually still a huge challenge for the brand, and one they have been working on to align and streamline with the edays platform. There is a delicate balance to strike between acknowledging differences in cultures and maintaining the consistency across the business: weighing this up is a key challenge for HRs to deal with.

4 – Healthy Teams are Happy Teams

The last year saw a shift in benefits at Coca-Cola, as staff moved to remote working environments. Previously there had been an emphasis on health with discounted onsite gym memberships, and a canteen that offered healthy meals. But throughout the pandemic there have been initiatives introduced via Teams to maintain this focus on health. Walking challenges and Strava challenges that were company-wide encouraged employees to get out and about to improve their health.

Kara told us that edays had helped with their return to work interviews, enabling them to better understand the challenges people have when it comes to health and wellbeing. The business has an aging workforce, especially in its supply-chain teams, and health is a really important factor in supporting and learning what is done better for individuals and teams in general.

During COVID, edays allowed Coca Cola European Partners to highlight members that identified as vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, which meant that HR knew who they might need to check in on and potentially provide extra support to during the pandemic.. Redeployment for those who traditionally were expected to be on site to complete their jobs but were vulnerable was also important to address health concerns. These employees were given new projects which they were able to complete from home.

5 – Effective Team Work

Finally, absence visibility across teams is key for team work. Planning ahead can be difficult without data. edays offers reporting functions that allow you to analyse trends and predict when teams might be off. On average an individual that must pick up their sick colleagues work is likely to be 30% less productive. This has to be accounted for, and in certain situations can quickly have domino-like consequences on other areas of the business, with performance overall taking a hit.

Evaluating benefits and rewards, and placing absence as a key differentiator can help. A business that promotes absence and includes it in its EVP will stand out. Prospects and employees will see leadership taking time off when unwell, and this will trickle down as an example for the rest of the workforce to follow.

If you would like to hear more on any of the ideas discussed above, please follow the link provided below and listen to our recording here.

Harry Customer Success Manager at edays
May 24, 2021

Harry is Head of Customer Success here at edays, helping organisations to get the very best out of their edays system. His experience in SaaS and HR brings valuable insight into how organisations can better manage their people, processes and productivity.