By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
Although employees in Ireland have one of the lowest rates of workplace absenteeism in Western Europe, absenteeism costs Irish businesses 1.4bn per annum. This figure however only accounts for correctly recorded absenteeism whereas in fact it could be the case that many absences go unrecorded due to poor record keeping and tracking. In a recent Sage survey respondents indicated that the single biggest cost to running a business is staff cost with 48% identifying this as their biggest expense.
One way to make a saving on staff costs and to manage employees and absenteeism effectively is to track both authorised holiday leave and unscheduled leave correctly using an online system.
I spoke to Lorna Keogh, Manager of the Business Advice Team in Sage. Lorna explained that manual systems that require the use of paper and spread sheets are extremely inefficient at tracking and recording employee leave. Research has also shown that absence rates are higher in larger organisations. Could this be because the larger the organisation, the more difficult it becomes to track leave and absences with manual systems?
As Lorna explained, “The challenges posed by these systems are experienced by employees and managers. If a team manager is out, absence requests will go unseen until they return. The team member waiting for the manager to respond to their request needs to ensure it is recorded in the spread sheet and not just confirmed verbally.
“It is very difficult for team members to see when their colleagues will be out and plan their own leave effectively, ensuring there is sufficient cover. Although a shared calendar can address this, discrepancies between the calendar and spread sheet inevitably crop along with a difference in opinion between the manager and team member as to how many holidays each employee still has.
“Poor recording and tracking of holidays and absences can lead to employees taking more leave than they are entitled to. Any reports on absences also has to be manually created and analysed.“
In Sage we use the software that we sell for the benefit of our own business. The introduction of Sage PeopleLink in the past number of years has not just benefited the HR department but people managers and employees also.
As Lorna explained, “With PeopleLink there are no discrepancies between systems with regard to absence levels nor are there several different records of absence because we are all using one central system. At employee level in order to request or record absence they must login to PeopeLink and click on the dates they require and then fill in the type of leave.
“As PeopleLink is online software they are not restricted to doing this in the office and can do so from a personal computer or any internet enabled mobile device. I receive an immediate email notification of their request and if I am out of the office I can receive this on my iPhone. I can click on this email which will take me to PeopleLink using my internet browser and from there I can approve or deny this request which in turn will send an instant email update to the employee. If an employee is unexpectedly out of the office for reasons such as sickness I can record this myself in PeopleLink.
“When the employee logs in to Peoplelink they can see exactly how many days absence they have had and how many days holidays they have remaining for the year. They can also see the team calendar so can view when team colleagues have booked leave which helps them with planning their own time off.
“As a manager I can view the leave booked by my colleagues which I use when planning time off. I can also view a calendar for my team which will show me how many days holidays each has left and what absences they have had so far this year. I can also run an absence report at the click of a button which will show me a report by employee broken down by absence type for the time period I specify. To top it all off I no longer have to report absences manually to our HR department – once PeopleLink is up to date at my end they can access everything they need at their end. “
With businesses in Ireland trying to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency by investing in technology, Sage PeopleLink offers a great solution. As it links with Sage Micropay, our payroll solution, any unpaid leave is automatically reflected in an employees pay. By using PeopleLink to reduce the time spent on absence administration, team managers can then focus on delivering results.
If you’re interested in what Sage PeopleLink can do for you, take a test drive or talk to our Business Advice Team on 1890 88 20 40.