Monday, 29 June 2015

Keeping your cool when the mercury rises

According to the weathermen, we are expecting record breaking sunshine this week, which is great news for those of us in Wales who look forward to a few days of sunshine in amongst the flurry of drizzle, heavy rain and cloudy skies that give us the beautiful green valleys we are famous for!

Sunny weather is great news for British tourism, and especially good news for tennis fans, who so often pay big money for Wimbledon tickets only to sit through rain interrupting play!

The sunny weather is not such great news for HR Managers, however, who are used to seeing unauthorised sickness absence rise just as quickly as the mercury does, especially if Andy Murray is playing well on Centre Court!  Of course, that's on top of planned annual leave which is higher during the Summer months.

Activ Absence is perfect for staff holiday planning and it is also proven to reduce unauthorised absence by 25-30%.  Our HR Managers claim that their cloud based absence management system makes summer easier:

"our records are more accurate and up to date than they ever were, resulting us being able to monitor and respond quickly to any absence issues that might arise."  Julie Holt, Improva

HR Managers using Activ Absence will now have a little extra something in their HR toolkit to help them keep cool when the temperature rises - because the company have today announced that they are sending attractively branded free mini cool bags to all their customers!

The Activ Absence Cool Bag

Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director  for Activ Absence explained:

"It's that time of year, with Wimbledon, sunny weather and the odd trip to the zoo or the seaside when those of us who have weekends off really want to make the most of them.  We view our HR customers as our most valuable asset, so as well as hopefully making their working lives easier during the warmer weather, we can give them a little something to help them enjoy their leisure time!"

The coolbags hold 6 regular soft drink cans, or for those who like to go camping, our Head of Marketing advises they also hold a pack of bacon, sausages, a pint of milk and an ice pack and are perfect for an overnight camping trip with a lovely breakfast!

Lucky HR Managers will be receiving their cool bags soon.

If you aren't yet a customer but would like one of the limited edition cool bags, book a FREE demonstration of the software by Friday 3rd July and we will happily send you one, no strings attached (whilst stocks last!)  To book your Activ Absence demonstration, call the team on 01656 750858 or email

UK Manufacturers failing to count the cost of absence | theHRDIRECTOR - The only magazine dedicated to HR Directors

Activ Absence quoted in an article on HR Director:

UK Manufacturers failing to count the cost of absence | theHRDIRECTOR - The only magazine dedicated to HR Directors

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Bridgend Cloud Based HR Software Business On the Fast Track!

Codel Software, developers of cloud based HR Software, Activ Absence were delighted to learn of their inclusion in the 2015 Swansea Bay Fast Track 25 list.

‘Fast Track 25’ is an invitation only business club organised by Swansea Bay Business life, and this is the second year running for the programme, which is designed to highlight the stars of the Swansea business world.

Businesses are chosen for the Fast Track programme by an expert panel, who seek to reflect the type of businesses needed to ensure economic prosperity in the South West Wales region.   Codel Software are a good example of a welsh business with excellent growth and a great product that is able to reduce costs for other employers.

Their flagship product, Activ Absence, has a growing market share.  There has been a marked increase in demand for absence management software as businesses seek to reduce their operating costs, Activ Absence streamlines staff holiday administration and helps organisations drive down the cost of absence.

Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director for Activ Absence said “It’s great news for us, we regularly get national praise for our innovative cloud-based software, so it’s nice to know that word of our success is finally reaching Wales!”

Adrian’s team will join the brightest and best local businesses in attending the Fast Track 25 official networking event at Marriot Hotel in Swansea on July 9th. The event is due to feature a series of inspirational speakers including former rugby legend Robert Jones and regional director at Thomas Carroll group.

Wyn Jenkins, Managing Director of Seren Global Media said, "As this elite business event rolls into its second year, it has built up momentum and is becoming even more of a vibrant networking of like-minded business people."

Codel Software shares the prestigious list this year with a range of impressive businesses including Tidal Lagoon — the company driving the proposed iconic £1 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project, underwater lighting experts, Lumishore, Infinity Document Solutions and Star Multi Fuels among others.

Santander and Bevan & Buckland have continued their sponsorship for this year’s Fast Track 25.
Andrew Davies, relationship director of Santander stated “We are delighted to continue our joint sponsorship of this exciting business programme,"

"It has been extremely encouraging to see the enthusiasm of the business community of Swansea and South West Wales in response to this and we look forward to future events and further engagement. The SME sector is a crucial part of the local economy and the success of local businesses is a key driver in the prosperity of the region."

Harri Lloyd-Davies, audit partner at Bevan & Buckland, said he was delighted to be co-sponsoring the awards once again.

Lewis concluded: “it’s an honour to be part of the fast-track programme and we look forward to the networking events.”

Wales-based businesses who would like to know more about Activ Absence can contact the commercial team on 01656 750858.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

May’s HR Manager of the Month: Rachel Davison, Turn it In

May’s HR Manager of the Month: Rachel Davison, Turnitin

Abbie gets Activ raising money for Prostate Cymru

The Activ Absence team is proud to announce that our latest recruit, Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator Abbie Williams, took part in last weekend's 'The Big Walk' - a gruelling 30 mile walk to raise money for Prostate Cymru.

Prostate Cymru is one of the leading charities in wales in the fight against all prostate diseases, benign and malignant. Annually, UK prostate cancer claims 11,000 lives, with up to 32,000 new cases diagnosed. Prostate Cymru is committed to fighting this disease.

The Walk route, image courtesy of Prostate Cymru
The Big Walk was set up in 2014 in hopes of raising funds for prostate cancer sufferers; it’s the biggest charity walk in Wales.  The goals of the walk are to raise money and also to raise awareness and understanding - while funding the latest medical equipment and the training of healthcare professionals. The event is designed to encourage all levels of walkers to enjoy and finish the journey as one.

The first ever Big Walk happened in 2014 with only 60 people taking part, which is a small number compared to the 170 people who signed up to be a part of the walk on Saturday 13th June for the second year.

Abbie Williams and Hannah Baker before the walk
The walk is physically and mentally challenging, with the 2014 group taking 9 hours to walk from the Millennium Stadium (Gate 3) to Kenfig Hill RFC.

Last year Warren Gatland (Wales Head Coach) and Lloyd Peers (Ospreys Second Row) happily helped start the walk and this year the walkers were lucky enough to start inside the Millennium Stadium with Rhys Priestland and Gethin Jenkins present.

Abbie shared the walk with her sister Hollie and cousin Hannah Baker and friend Jade Lines. Abbie started the walk at 8:40am and crossed the finish line with her sister at 5:40pm meaning she took 9 hours to complete the walk.

An exhausted Abbie said: "The Big Walk was definitely one of the hardest mentally and physically challenges I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t have got through it without my friends and family walking with me keeping me going. I must also comment on how amazing the support was from support vans and first aiders who constantly cheered us on throughout the entire walk and never left anyone behind. Right now I don’t feel physically able to take part again next year but I would happily help in anyway to support the event and other walkers. It’s an indescribable feeling when you finally cross the finish line and I am so proud of each and every person who took part.”

Abbie's cousin Hannah, who also took part in the 2014 event, said: “It's a physical and mental challenge from start to finish but reaching the end was a massive feeling of achievement.”

A whopping £9,000 was raised in 2014 surpassing everyone’s estimations and it has yet to be announced how much the 2015 event has raised. It has been said that “The big walk is not a race but a team event, were you can interact with new people from different parts of your community; this gives you an opportunity to help each other reach the finish line.”

Everyone in the Activ Absence and Codel Software teams is very proud of Abbie's achievement, and it isn't too late to donate, just contact Abbie by email: or donate directly to

Absences rise as employers fail to deal with mental health - Workplace Savings & Benefits

Absences rise as employers fail to deal with mental health - Workplace Savings & Benefits

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Small businesses may not be able to follow Virgin’s lead on shared paternity leave

Virgin has introduced a new policy that all businesses should be bringing in to help build equality between mothers and fathers in the workplace, says one of the leading HR Software developers Activ Absence

Yesterday, Sir Richard Branson announced Virgin Managements new shared parental leave policy, with parents and those who have adopted now entitled to a year-long shared leave period.

This is an improvement on the Government’s statutory policy introduced earlier this year, which allowed partners to share up to 50 weeks of leave, but only at 90% of pay. 

Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director of Codel, the developers of Activ Absence, said:

“Clearly Virgin is a large business who strive to exceed minimum legal requirements when it comes to staff benefits and I’m sure the Virgin staff will welcome the move.  It’s certainly nice to think that parents will be able to share that important first year.” 

However, Mr. Lewis was a little more cautious as to how this news will be received by smaller organisations, saying:

“It’s admirable that Virgin seek to do so much for their staff, but I’m not sure smaller businesses will be able to handle the complex administration needed to adequately manage statutory shared paternity leave, let alone afford to be so generous. 

Originally fathers were only entitled to two weeks Paternity Leave, and then 26 weeks paid Additional Paternity Leave if their partner went back to work. This new policy allows people to choose who looks after the baby instead of forcing one or both of the parents back to work, but how the new provisions can be monitored and administered practically by smaller organisations is yet to be observed in practice - our software has the provision for it, but many businesses still manage leave via a spreadsheet.”

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!