Utilising technology to streamline the engagement and absence process

Technology can add significant value by streamlining all administration and acting as a best practice quality control mechanism for absence management and engagement policies. Here are a series of helpful software tips.

Manage employee engagement data within a HR system

For example, if a corporate membership deal has been negotiated with a local gym, and details of all registered employees are currently stored on a spreadsheet, why not create a new screen for this wellbeing programme within the HR system, import the data, and populate the detail onto employees’ individual records.
The technology can then monitor when the membership is due to expire, report on membership start/end dates etc and notify an employee when a renewal is due [Fig.1].


screenshoot - import excel data

Use the system to centrally store all relevant company documents such as absence policies or cycle to work scheme overviews

These can be published to all employees, via email for instance, before the system requests confirmation from each individual that the content has been read and understood.

Monitor ‘at a glance’ information

Intuitive software will present easy-to-digest information via customisable dashboards, so that an employee’s individual absence status can be viewed and understood within, literally, seconds, before any further investigation takes place. Both the HR team and line managers should be encouraged to do this.

Establish trigger points

A variety of trigger points can be set relevant to an organisation’s absence policy or workplace requirements. These could include more than X sickness episodes over a period of time, a Bradford Factor score in excess of X, or a single absence lasting more than X days [Fig.2].

Fig. 2

Screenshot - Trigger in HRMS system

Create best practice workflows

It is possible to create processes, tailored to the organisation, so that once a trigger is activated, the system will notify the right person to take the right action at the right time. This may be as simple as the HR department auto-sending an email to recap on the absence policy and outline that a formal meeting is required.
However, the system can also guide the user through an array of relevant actions such as: request GP report, refer to occupational health or begin disciplinary action. Further investigation may reveal that the absence scenario is just an anomaly in an otherwise perfect track record.

Workflows are configurable and editable, and can be adjusted to reflect changes to an organisation’s absence policy, legislation or industry standards/guidelines. They also ensure the consistent approach that is required by law.

Maintain an audit trail

All return to work details, documents, records and minutes can be held within the system for accountability and to act as evidence should the absence require more formal action [Fig.3].

Fig. 3

Screenshot - Return to Work screen in HRMS

Run reports & interrogate the data

It may be possible to uncover an underlying trend that would otherwise remain unnoticed, such as cyclical episodes of flu within a certain department. If such patterns can be identified, steps can be taken to prevent ill health and absence in future. In this example, for instance, flu jabs could be facilitated at certain times of year.


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