A Persuasive Proposal for Change

Aaron Lambert
By: Aaron Lambert
Date: September 18, 2017

Is absenteeism an issue in your organization? It more than likely is – and you just may not know it. If you are aware of it, you may already be down the path of looking for insight on why it occurs and how to reduce its impact.

Employee absence costs employers millions, whether it’s the result of unscheduled absences or scheduled vacations and time off. In addition to salary, there’s the productivity impact on the employee who is out and the colleagues who need to pick up the slack. According to a 2015 Centers for Disease Control study, productivity loss due to absenteeism cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee.

Employee absences are almost impossible to manage and control without automation. According to a 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics study, 21 percent of U.S. workers took some amount of time off during an average week, at an average of 15.6 hours per worker when they did.  It’s challenging to track whether days off are authorized or unauthorized and whether employees are taking too much or not enough time off from work. Additionally, policies are complex and difficult to administer and enforce.  With hourly workers, the cost is compounded by the often reactionary decision to authorize more costly overtime or additional shift incentive policies to fill the labor gap.

An automated approach to absence management can help control costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity. Infor GHR provides core capabilities and rich functionality, freeing HR team members from transactional tasks and enabling more strategic contributions. But getting the project off the ground isn’t always easy.

Uninformed management often questions the value of a service or system to manage absence and dismisses the problem with a reply of “managers just need to do their job” or “go get a temp.” Outsourcing isn’t a perfect option, either. Service providers can help with extended leaves of absence, but not the day-to-day leave.

In a growing number of states, multiple different entitlements can overlap making every absence a risk on one or more fronts. At last count, California has nearly 20 specific regulations creating a need to track, administer, and pay time off differently and in specific ways, depending on the reason for time off. Most state and local laws favor the employee, making it more important than ever to tightly manage all types of leave.

Building the business case

When leadership understands why they should care, they’re more likely to champion the project, increasing the likelihood of success. The business care provides a framework to ensure the project is completed on time and on budget. Some things to consider:

Illustrate the financial benefits as well as the business problems automating absence management solves. Presenting a formal business case can help you break through typical management roadblocks and get to “yes.”

Conduct a business review. The discovery process helps you thoroughly understand your organization and the impact of current processes and systems. Use the business review to uncover pain points that can be eliminated by Infor GHR with absence management capabilities.

Map your processes and check for alignment across your organization.  Organize all the information collected during the discovery process to identify gaps between your current state and your desired end state and develop a plan for meeting those requirements.

Prioritize the quick wins. Know what’s most important to your organization – automating and centralizing processes; gaining access to accurate, real-time data for informed decisions, minimizing compliance risk – and focus on areas that address your organization’s most pressing pain points.

Develop the roadmap. Identify the resources needed and all costs involved with the purchase, implementation, and maintenance of your Infor solution.

The foundation of any successful program is knowing what it is you’re trying to accomplish and why. The case you make to your executives must clearly articulate the critical business issues that you intend to solve and why solving them is important to the organization.

Employee absences can significantly compromise workplace productivity and diminish the bottom line. If starting or improving an existing absence management program is on your priority list, look to Infor GHR and see what customers have done to achieve success.

Aaron Lambert, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is the Human Capital Management Services Practice Director at Avaap.  If you’re interested in learning more about how to build your case, conduct a business review and understand the opportunities the Infor GHR solution can offer, get in touch.

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