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Tracking Trends by Capturing Data

Tracking Trends by Capturing Data

Contact Us: 01908 265111

Absence Management Software


Introduction

Absence management is a core business activity undertaken by enterprises of all sizes. Staff members have a legal entitlement to time away from work and for the enterprise, managing the wellbeing of an employee will help maximise their productivity. The way an absence management process is implemented may be a structured and even formal system in a large enterprise or as casual as an email in a micro business. In all cases, accurate record keeping is an essential element in order that the process is transparent for both users and administrators.

Absence management can broadly be split into two categories; planned and unplanned absence. Planned absence is the less disruptive of the two and the enterprise will be able to react to these requests through scheduling and awareness of the absence. In most cases, this type of leave forms part of the employee’s remuneration and so is a direct cost of their employment.

Unplanned absence is more disruptive and its consequences must initially be resolved in real time, changing appointment schedules or cancelling planned works. In the longer term, patterns of unplanned absence can be investigated and may identify staff members in need of greater support.

In each case, maintaining accurate figures of absences taken and entitlement remaining gives the enterprise valuable knowledge. For planning purposes knowing a likely rate of absence allows sufficient staff to be made available (accounting for absences) so critical projects can be completed to schedule. For employee relations having a clear and transparent reckoning of awards and usage of entitlements helps maintain trust and respect in the relationship.

Small & Micro Businesses

In a micro business with just a few staff, a paper-based system could be used effectively to manage these records. If such a system is used there needs to be great care taken to maintain accuracy. Sharing the curatorship of these records may introduce inaccuracies such as double or missing bookings. These systems can work well in the right environment but must be rigorously maintained.

For small business’s absence management may be largely delegated to team leaders or heads of department. In these businesses, it is less common to encounter paper-based systems due to the increased complexity created by larger staff numbers. It is common to find that the person who administers absence for each group of employee’s has developed their own bespoke spreadsheet or a variant based from an original template. These multiple systems can work well in isolation with the administrator reporting periodically total values to an HR administrator. As this architecture can be made up of as many independent systems as there are administrators it can be problematic to handle change where an administrator leaves, are absent themselves or is promoted elsewhere. In addition a to this and as with any spreadsheet inaccuracies in data entry or a poor approach to the development and testing of formulas can introduce difficult to identify mistakes. The HR administrators role is made more challenging with this type of system is they are only ever given summary data from it; they are unable to scrutinise or audit the raw values so cannot lend their expertise to help maintain accuracy.

Whilst spreadsheets in a small business may risk some inaccuracy, some alternatives can provide a far lower level quality of information. In some cases, absence management systems are implemented through Outlook calendars. Whilst these can provide a high level of visibility, concerning absence bookings there is no inherent management of booking limitations and important information such as the reason for the absence may be missing from the record entirely. Where the administrator of the calendar must provide annual totals this can lead to a level of uncertainty as to how a booking should be reconciled against an entitlement. The complexities of substitute bank holiday dates of year ends can introduce yet more opportunity for error causing days to be booked against the wrong absence years.

Medium Sized & Upwards

In medium sized enterprises (and certainly in larger), it is unlikely that spreadsheets can provide a satisfactory solution for absence management. The need to share the information amongst multiple stakeholders and fairly enforce policies makes multiple independent systems unworkable. A small enterprise growing into a medium one can reach a point where they must convert systems created across multiple spreadsheets into centralised management systems, not just with consideration for absence management but also in other business areas such as stock control and finance where the systems have followed the same evolutionary path.

An absence management system is a solution that allows for the accurate collection and analysis of data. It also provides business logic to implement rules, accountability and centralised administration of the system. This type of system gives it user’s greater confidence in the accuracy of the information whilst still allowing the same level of flexibility of a spreadsheet. These systems allow for multiple categories of absence to be recorded separately and give fine-grained control over who may access a particular type of leave or the amount of entitlement an individual might receive. All type of absence could be recorded or the scope could be extended to keep track of other similar activities, such as how much training time an employee receives in a given period.

The minimum data that a system will need to record a booking are who is taking the absence, the dates that the absence occurs over and what type of absence it is. Whilst this minimum set of data is enough to provide a basic system much more information is required to create a joined up and rounded system. For this reason, it is common for absence management systems to be one of the components of an HR Management system. As an HR management system will include other information related to a person’s employment the need to keep duplicate sets of information is greatly reduced. Using the complete set of information about an individual’s employment allows for the number of hours and days lost to be accurately calculated when the dates of an absence are entered. By combining this with salary information the cost of a period of absence can also be calculated accurately. Entitlements for planned leave such as holiday can also be factored by FTE (full time equivalence) allowing for the automatic calculation of part time entitlements.

Absence Management Solutions

An absence management system is a solution that allows for the accurate collection and analysis of data. It also provides business logic to implement rules, accountability and centralised administration of the system. This type of system gives it user’s greater confidence in the accuracy of the information whilst still allowing the same level of flexibility of a spreadsheet. These systems allow for multiple categories of absence to be recorded separately and give fine-grained control over who may access a particular type of leave or the amount of entitlement an individual might receive. All type of absence could be recorded or the scope could be extended to keep track of other similar activities, such as how much training time an employee receives in a given period.

The minimum data that a system will need to record a booking are who is taking the absence, the dates that the absence occurs over and what type of absence it is. Whilst this minimum set of data is enough to provide a basic system much more information is required to create a joined up and rounded system. For this reason, it is common for absence management systems to be one of the components of an HR Management system. As an HR management system will include other information related to a person’s employment the need to keep duplicate sets of information is greatly reduced. Using the complete set of information about an individual’s employment allows for the number of hours and days lost to be accurately calculated when the dates of an absence are entered. By combining this with salary information the cost of a period of absence can also be calculated accurately. Entitlements for planned leave such as holiday can also be factored by FTE (full time equivalence) allowing for the automatic calculation of part time entitlements.

For many office-based enterprises where work patterns are generally consistent, the absence management module of standard HR module will provide sufficient functionality. Such systems can often be customised to expand this functionality through self-service systems and integration with other modules such as time sheets. Where an enterprise has a more complex working structure and more extensive time management system could be deployed. A time and attendance system is dedicated to time management with accuracy typically down to the minute. These systems allow rolling work patterns with shift and roster assignments. All time assigned to an employee can then be accounted for along various routes, such as paid and unpaid or present and absent. To gain maximum advantage from these systems they should form a module of centralised HR management system. This then allows them integrated access to a wealth of additional information relevant to time tracking. Time and attendance systems are capable of advanced functionality such as managing TOIL (time off in lieu) and flexitime. Whilst the absence management module of a standard HR system should be able to allow holiday accrual based on a standard set of working hours an time and attendance system will be able to do this based on actual hours worked.

Levels of Precision

The level of precision required and the complexity of working practices are key factors that set time and attendance and HR management systems apart when managing absence for employees. In many cases a time and attendance system may be able to handle complex working arrangement but will deliver an unnecessary level of precision whilst an HR system may require manual intervention to handle similarly complex rules but overall provide a simpler system to administer. Integrated systems can provide both management routes within a single system. A software consultant with experience of these systems will be able to provide individual guidance to help select the correct system based on a specific set of needs.

In all types of absence management system the data is collected in a central database. Using this central database, it is possible to create analysis reports looking at various dimensions of the data. Organisations can be sliced by different categories, such as by department, team or location. Absence reports are also helpful for identifying patterns of behaviour in the leave records on individuals allowing intervention to correct any issues. They are also useful for comparing with local or national rates of absence. This type of comparison can be the catalyst for programs of improvements within organisations where it is recognised that productivity rates can be improved through better management of employee well being.

  • Overview
  • Training Evaluation Forms
  • Performance Reviews - Appraisal Forms
  • Types of HR Management System
  • Selecting HR Software
  • GDPR and People Inc.
  • Flexible Working
  • Calculating Holiday Entitlement
  • Absence Management Software
  • Time and Attendance Software
  • Human Resources Software – The future made simple
  • HR Software moving forwards
  • HR Management Software - An affordable solution?
  • The Power of Employee Self Service Software
  • HR Management Software by People Inc.
  • GDPR
  • Personnel Management Software by People Inc.
  • Why use HR Software?
  • Euphony chooses personnel management software People Inc.
  • The benefits of Personnel and Human Resource Management
  • Human resources software
  • Online recruitment software
  • Nursery chooses human resources software
  • Software for Human Resources
  • Employee Self Service Systems
  • Employee Software - Moving with the times
  • Software for HR
  • Personnel Director - Legacy Systems
  • Personnel Manager - Legacy Systems
  • Managing Absence
  • Have You Found Your HRM Solution?

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