Managing Employee Absences with Workforce Management Software

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Morgane Cloarec
November 5 2021

Every company in every industry has had to adapt to the health crisis and protect employees by implementing strict protocols to contain the spread of the virus in the workplace.

Despite everyone’s best efforts, Canada has seen a record 2.5 million COVID-19-related absences since April 2020.

This astonishing statistic has radically changed the way human resources managers operate, and they have had to quickly adapt to this situation. It is not new information :  what matters the most in a company is the people who constitute it. However, the consequences of employee absences are numerous – especially when the absences are recurrent, and they turn into absenteeism – such as understaffing and work overload, avoidable expenses, time wasted on managing absences that could have been used to solve more complex tasks… The list goes on!

Now, how do you manage these absences while maintaining a good level of service? In this technology-driven era, it is essential to use an HRIS (Human Resources Information System). This article explains the whys.

Reducing the risk of errors

When using Excel spreadsheets or a pen and paper to create the schedule and record each absence, mistakes can easily happen. Fortunately, the AI that an HR management software uses  acts as a safety net that prevents errors. Inadvertently adding an absent employee to the schedule? This will certainly not happen to you again!

These management tools can be configured according to your collective agreement rules or your internal regulations. You can then be sure that your absence management policy will be automatically respected. If, for example, an employee has exceeded the number of authorized days of absence, the software will inform them, and they will not be able to create new ones. In addition, a notification will be sent directly to the manager.

Centralizing information

Today, the best way to process all the data you have is to centralize it on a single platform. You will no longer waste time searching, cross-referencing and analyzing information: they will all be immediately available to you!

Data centralization allows you to manage absences more efficiently than ever: the employee informs you of their absence, you receive a message giving you the details of the absence (who, when, for how long, for which position, why…) and you find an available and qualified replacement, all in one place. The synchronization of information across the entire platform makes this whole operational process smoother.

With COVID-19, having the necessary documentation at your disposal in one click is a major advantage. Indeed, managers can categorize absences related to the virus and therefore react quickly and apply the necessary sanitary protocol to contain its spread within the company. 

Synchronized absence management also facilitates communication between supervisors and their employees. By analyzing absence histories, you will be able to identify employees who repeatedly do not show up for work. Having all this information allows you to open a discussion with the employees concerned to understand the situation and find appropriate solutions. Only 46% of Canadian employers carefully analyze their employees’ absences, you can make a difference in creating a healthier work environment!

Easily manage replacements

Listing and analyzing absences is only the first step! The second step is often more difficult and time-consuming: finding an available and qualified employee to cover the absent person’s shift. The most common strategy  is to call each employee one by one to ask them to cover their colleague’s shift, but an HRIS can take care of this task instantly.

After an employee submits an absence request through the software, the manager receives this request in real time and can then launch an automated call list: the software finds the employees who are suitable to cover the shift and calls them automatically. Employees then simply have to accept or decline the shift directly on their phone. It’s that simple to find the right person in one click!

You can set up this call list to comply with your internal regulations, so that the most experienced or longest-serving employees can be notified first. This way, you avoid potential grievances, understaffing, overtime expenses and tensions within your company. It is no longer up to you to adapt to the situation, it is the software that adapts to your reality!

Thanks to its artificial intelligence-based algorithm, Merinio’s software allows you to find available employees to fill all your vacant shifts in a few seconds, thanks to the calling system.

Transparency and fairness within the company

Using a workforce management software increases trust between managers and employees: employees are guaranteed that collective agreements or internal rules will be respected. An absent employee is entitled to compensation according to their collective agreement? The software will automatically apply this rule when it comes to the payroll.

Furthermore, the fact that employees enter their own absences and can accept shifts without consulting their supervisor gives them autonomy. This is exactly what workers are looking for nowadays. This trust and autonomy given to employees makes them feel more engaged and valued by the company. Happy employees are less absent. It’s a win-win situation for your organization!

A shift toward digital transition

47% of companies will be using automation-based HR solutions by 2022: why shouldn’t you? Digital transition has become a hot topic in recent years, and it’s no small thing, as these technology solutions provide benefits to both managers, by taking the burden of repetitive tasks off their shoulders, and employees, by providing a better work experience.

Today, it is easier than ever to acquire an HRIS that fits your reality and your needs. Indeed, these solutions are increasingly powerful, multitasking>, and most importantly affordable. 

Technology is present in many aspects of our lives: 81% of adult Quebecers own a smartphone and 59% own a tablet! It is therefore extremely likely that your colleagues and employees will welcome the technological solutions in their professional environment.

Today, a workforce management software is the ideal tool for dealing with absences in an optimal and automated manner. These tools can reduce the errors caused by the complexity of absence management, centralize HR data on a single platform, ensure that there is always someone to replace the absent colleague, provide transparency and fairness among all members of a company, and make an efficient shift to the digital era. Having an HRIS tool to manage absences is already a part of the future of work and a way to collaborate with all the stakeholders of a company.

This article was written by Morgane Cloarec from Merinio.

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