Monitoring absence a widespread issue

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Many companies' workforce management software is not up to scratch, according to research.

How satisfied are you with your workforce management (WFM) system? If the answer is “very”, you are in the minority. Only 6% of those surveyed by a recent Workforce Management Trends & Challenges among UK Employers report said they were “very satisfied” with their WFM system.

And yet the same survey, by WorkForce Software, found such systems are becoming increasingly vital to UK businesses.

Most crucial to manage through such a solution apparently is absence. Almost half (47%) of respondents indicated that they would prioritise absence in evaluating a new solution – little wonder when you consider that employee absence costs UK employers £31.1 billion per year. Just under half (44%) raised absence abuse as a top concern.

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What is needed, according to the report, is real-time knowledge. “The ability to track employee absences in real time can... reveal absence patterns – from when employees are most frequently absent to when they come in late or leave early,” it stated.

Real-time tracking could also empower managers to be more proactive in managing schedules and help with strategic workforce planning. But on the downside, it also raises important issues around trust. How closely should employees be monitored?

Despite that potential hurdle, more than half (55%) of organisations appear to agree that doing things in real time could help their business, citing a lack of real-time communication as a factor inhibiting their ability to best manage employee absence.

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Yet workforce management is still largely a manual process. The three workforce management functions most commonly done on paper are staff scheduling and rostering (52%), labour analytics (41%) and time and attendance (36%).

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But as HR departments continue to jettison admin, the WFM automation revolution is surely just around the corner.

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