Tuesday, 9 June 2015

How software helps HR keep cool & manage staff absence when the weather is warm

It’s finally summer and the weather is slowly but surely rising and becoming hotter.

It’s great news for ice cream vendors and seasonal businesses, but it can be catastrophic for other organisations as staff seek to capitalise on the long awaited hot spell by either ‘pulling a sickie’ or seeking to take all of their annual leave all at once, creating leave clashes and skill shortages for those who remain in work.

Even in the most perfect environment, tempers and nerves can get frayed in the warmer weather and the same conditions that result in perfect, balmy weekends can create a perfect storm for a stressed out HR department as staff absence starts to rise.

Tackling those HR issues which are exacerbated by the warm weather requires a long term strategy and planning and preparation is key to keeping your cool.  Activ Staff Absence Software can help HR by giving them the tools they need to manage absence effectively.

Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director said:

“we aren’t able to put ice cubes in your drinks, but we can certainly help you plan ahead to reduce the stress that a hot spell can bring!”

“Hot weather does usually result in an increase in workplace absence - both in hurriedly planned absence for people keen to capitalise on a heatwave, and unplanned absence from those who have 'Monday-itis'.  The online staff holiday planner in Activ Absence lets managers have clear visibility of who’s off and when, eliminating staff holiday clashes and skill shortages.  Managers can instantly see who’s off and can approve or reject leave requests with a single click, plus sickness absence tools usually have a substantial impact on unplanned absence."

Activ Absence have been providing their absence management software since 2006, and users typically report that the software reduces unplanned absence by up to 30%.  It also reduces the HR Managers workload, leaving them free to deal with other issues which may result from the warmer weather.

Many businesses don’t even have consequences in place if a member of staff does in fact ‘pull a sickie’. Implementing absence management software such as Activ Absence, illustrating short term absence via the Bradford Factor and using ‘return to work interviews’ are all successful ways can at least get the point home that sickies come at a cost, and keeping track of absence enables you identify leave patterns and take further action when necessary.

It’s helpful too, for staff to understand that taking a sick day has a very real cost, both to their colleagues who have to pick up the slack and to the business as a whole.  More than 1/3 of UK staff interviewed in research carried out by PwC admitted to ‘pulling a sickie’ and don’t see it as harmful, however the same research identified that absence costs the UK £9 billion a year.

Managing absence is about more than just software - its about improving staff engagement - and there are lots of affordable ways to do that.

I like to recruit the problem as a cure... in this case, use the warm weather to motivate your team.  Even a simple gesture like buying staff an ice cream and allowing for extra drink breaks can lighten the atmosphere, promote a team atmosphere and make people want to be in work.  Happy workers are motivated workers!

Overall, there is a lot that can be done to reduce tension and stress for the HR team in the summer months, so don’t get over-heated – call us!

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