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The hidden costs of decentralised absence management

11 April 2024 4 min read

The importance of having a best practice absence management approach

A decentralised absence management approach is more than just relying on paper and spreadsheets as the primary way of keeping records. In the case of global and multi-location organisations, it means every site of operations using its own method of tracking absences – so there isn’t one central place where absence data is stored, making it hard to access and utilise.

Many organisations rely on these fragmented methods of tracking absence for a number of reasons. For example, it may simply be the way it’s been done for years, or the admin task of logging information on a spreadsheet may feel like a quick and easy way of doing it in the short-term.

But disjointed approaches like this means managing employee absence comes with many hidden costs that can be detrimental to an organisation. Let’s explore a few of them in detail…

A fragmented culture

Decentralised processes make it much harder for employees to book time off. And when it’s too hard to book time off, many employees might not bother or become frustrated in the process. All work and no play can lead to stress and burnout, which can cost your organisation significantly in the long-run. Stress is one of the biggest causes of unplanned absence in the workplace.

A decentralised approach can also make employees’ return to work more difficult following sickness absence. It is best practice to follow up with employees who are returning to work to discuss the reasons for their absence. This isn’t an interrogation, but rather a chance to check-in with the employee and see if they are in a good place to return to their work, and how they might be best able to catch up on company updates, projects and work they may have missed while they were away. In turn, this helps the employee to feel more supported, and helps to mitigate some of the cost associated with lost working hours.

A negative employee experience

Disjointed and outdated processes, and an organisational culture that may be fuelling stress and burnout, will lead to an overall unpleasant employee experience.

If employees find it difficult to book holidays, their overall satisfaction with their working environment might be compromised. They might have to wait for a long time to know whether their holiday has been approved or not, and sometimes emails or verbal communication may be missed or overlooked entirely.

Likewise, if an employee takes sickness absence and this isn’t recorded accurately, it may mean that there is no follow up, or they are later questioned about where they were – potentially making them feel like they have done something wrong.

Having a positive culture surrounding absence and leave is an important part of any absence management approach. Making employees feel as though they can’t or shouldn’t take time off work will cause costly problems in the long-run – such as diminished productivity, employee engagement, and commitment.

Difficulties with global compliance

If you’re a global organisation, you’ll have to comply with different rules and regulations in every country you work in. And when it comes to holiday entitlement, carryover, maternity leave, and much more, the rules can differ considerably from country to country.

With decentralised systems, it’s very difficult to ensure that you’re satisfying all of those different rules. Are your employees getting all the leave they’re entitled to? Are your systems compliant when it comes to issues such as holiday carryover, sick leave, and sick pay?

Centralising your absence puts everyone on the same page, making it easy for any organisation of any size to successfully manage local and global leave compliance.

What’s more, one central absence solution gives you centralised reporting on absence – a single source of truth. You can access detailed absence data through running any number of comprehensive reports, and you can leverage this data to make more informed business decisions that’ll significantly help you deliver those objectives. On a global scale, this level of transparency can lead to lasting business growth.

What’s the solution?

Cloud-based absence management software gives HR leaders, people managers, and employees one place to access what they need, and provides a single platform to enable an effective approach to managing absence and leave. It’s fast, efficient, and allows for total transparency across your entire organisation.

With easy and quick ways to book time off, log sickness absence, and track things like overtime and TOIL – it all starts with a centralised absence management system that connects your existing HR and payroll platforms.

Unlock actionable absence insights for your organisation

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Harry Customer Success Manager at edays
April 11, 2024

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.