3 Tips for Effective Absence Management
Effective absence management is a critical part of any workforce management environment. Unlike physical assets, people assets can call out sick, take vacations, or otherwise not be available to work. When these situations present themselves, it is important that companies are prepared and have a plan in place to respond appropriately.
The first tip for creating an effective absence management plan is to be prepared. As simple as it may seem, too many times companies are not well prepared for employee absences. This leads to situations where they need to resort to overtime to cover shifts, or situations where customer satisfaction is jeopardized. Companies should at all times have a plan for unanticipated absences – a plan that maximizes a company’s available resources. Some advanced preparation techniques a company can take for effective absence management include having list of employees with their qualifications available at all times so that resources can be shifted to cover the most important tasks that need to occur on a specific shift.
One of the major reasons that employees do not show up for their shift is that they were unable to secure approved time off in advance. Whether they were unable to find a co-worker who could cover their shift, or they were denied a time-off request, employees are often left to take a “sick day” as a last resort. This puts both the employee and the company in a bad position, as the company is left scrambling to find a replacement employee at the last minute. One way to help reduce these last minute absences is to give employees greater visibility into the decision-making process that supervisors go through when granting leave requests. If employees can see the slots that are available for them to take leave, sometimes they can re-arrange things on their end to help accommodate the organizations. For example, employees will often request a specific date off – when they really only need some time off around that date. Therefore, if they were able to see the dates when they could take a day off, they may be able to better plan on their side so that they can both meet their own needs as well as meet the needs of the organization.
Effective absence management requires empowered employees. Give employees a tool where they can make leave requests and track the lifecycle of that request. Give employees the ability to view their leave balances so that they know at all times how much time they have available. Finally, employees should be able to donate unused leave to each other instead of having it expire. These will help increase employee morale as well as reduce unplanned absences and the costly overtime that accompanies it.
By taking these three steps toward more effective absence management, companies can begin to see a reduction in unplanned absences and unanticipated overtime.