Effective absence management is not merely an administrative task; it is a strategic function that, when supported by the right technology, can improve productivity, employee satisfaction, and even your bottom line.  

We reviewed the challenges of tracking and measuring absences and noted that according to the Conference Board of Canada, 46% of organizations say they do not adequately track absences.  

In this article, we review what to look for in absence tracking tools and software to overcome the hurdles and implement a best practice absence management strategy. 

Your absence management strategy should address the key principles of absence management: 

  • Early intervention
  • Tracking and measurement
  • Policy clarity and fair policy enforcement
  • Time and Attendance are not Absence Management
  • If the supervisor is not part of the solution, they are part of the problem. Give them the tools and data they need.
  • Not all absences are equal
  • “The right information to the right person at the right time

Aligning Software with Best Practices in Absence Management 

What your absence management software should provide are features and functions that help you implement your strategy and absence management best practices. 

The absence management software should serve as a front-end, easy-to-use tool for your supervisors and managers connected to your back-end Human Resources Information System (HRIS). 

Here is how absence software can support the implementation of a best practices absence management strategy: 

  1. Early Intervention
    • Data is not just numbers; it is a tool for proactive management. Advanced analytics can help you identify absence trends early on, allowing for timely intervention. Having software showcase patterns in employee absences as well as comparisons between an average absence versus chronic absence can be vital to early intervention. 
    • Additionally, having a 24/7 call centre to report absences helps catch avoidable absences on day 0. These functionalities support a preventative approach rather than a reactive one, fulfilling the principle of early intervention.  
  1. Accurate Tracking Meets Real-Time Monitoring
    • The cornerstone of effective absence management is accurate tracking. Software with real-time attendance monitoring and customized categories ensures that you are always aware of who is in and who is out, thereby enabling data-driven decision-making.  
    • Furthermore, measurement goes together with tracking as it helps us understand the financial cost of employee absences. The formula to measure the cost of absences is hours scheduled, divided by the actual hours worked, multiplied by the pay rate
  1. Policy Clarity through Automation 
    • Clear policies are essential for transparency and fairness. Modern absence management software can automate rule-based workflows, ensuring that your policies are consistently applied across the board. This not only eliminates human error but also reinforces the policy guidelines set by the organization.  
  1. Time and Attendance are not Absence Management
    • Distinguishing between time and attendance management and absence management is crucial. Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) are designed as a tool for the HR department to ensure proper payment and tracking of employee information. Absence management is typically bolted on as an additional module without the specific process automation and tracking required by your absence management strategy.
    • The most significant differentiator between HRIS software and absence management software pertains to the latter’s forward-looking nature, specifically designed to offer the essential data needed for meticulous return-to-work planning.
  1. Consistency through Role-Based Access 
    • Consistency is key to fair absence management. Software with role-based access ensures that managers and HR personnel have the appropriate level of information, maintaining a consistent approach to how absences are managed and documented. It allows for further support to ensure workflow is smooth and employees get the help they need to stay productive. “The right information to the right person at the right time.” 
  1. Building a Supportive Environment through Employee Self-Service 
    • Employee self-service features empower staff to independently manage their leave, fostering a sense of control and appreciation among employees. This supportive environment can significantly reduce unplanned absences and boost overall morale.
  1. Understanding the Different Types of Absences
    • Different types of absences have varying degrees of impact on productivity. For instance, a single-day absence due to a common cold may have minimal effects on productivity, while frequent, long-term medical leaves can significantly disrupt workflow and projects. An excellent understanding of various absences is crucial to addressing underlying issues and implementing appropriate measures.

Learn more about absence management best practices 

Features and Functionality to Look for in Absence Software 

Absence software has features and functionality that can improve the workflow of managers and supervisors through a home page dashboard, real-time reports, and trend analysis. It gives employees a seamless way to report absences directly to managers and supervisors with ease, ensuring a quick response to their needs. 

  • Simple Absence Notification Process
    • Automate the absence notification process: absence software collects data from the call centre agent, checks policy compliance, and emails the manager to notify the absence. The manager can then log on to the software to acknowledge the absence.
  • Customizable for Your Organization
    • Configurable to meet your business needs and absence policies.  The ability to customize is key to implementing the rules of your absence policy to ensure consistency with your strategy and the software. 
  • Home Page Dashboard
    • A home page dashboard provides a one-stop shop to view key metrics such as absences for the day, absence trends, real-time notifications and more. With configurable widgets, it can cater to your business and is customizable for each manager and supervisor. 
  • Calendar View for Trend Analysis
    • A calendar view that can differentiate and display every absence type, through a 12-month view and employee view, allowing you to pinpoint any irregularities in the system. 
  • Streamlined Approval Process
    • Make it easy for supervisors to get involved without losing valuable time and productivity. The absence type, duration, reason, employee details, and previous absences can be seen directly from the absence approval pane. It can be done directly from an email notification, making it efficient.  

How WMC can help  

Our absence management consultants can work with you to develop and review your absence strategy and policies, ensuring it is meeting best practices and delivering results. 

Once you have the strategy, we can help you implement it with our full-featured absence management software and call centre, designed from the ground up to implement absence management programs. 

By strategically aligning software features with organizational best practices, you transform absence management from a daunting challenge into a strategic asset. The outcome is a more efficient, transparent, and supportive work environment that benefits both employees and the organization.  

Book a demo today and transform your absence management system through software.