September 25, 2019

Minimize Unplanned Absences and Improve Your Bottom Line

Two empty office chairs on top of a mountain

Managing unplanned absences is a significant challenge faced by every organization, thanks to the significant negative impact on your company’s employee morale, customer service, and bottom line. Unexpected employee absences compromise scheduling efficiency, drive up overtime, overburden other employees, and decrease profitability.

Absenteeism can take many forms, including the unexpected partial shift. Partial shifts occur when an employee is late for a shift, takes a break that is longer than allowed for, or departs work early.

  • Tardiness is a significant source of partial shifts, with studies showing that close to a third of employees are late to work at least once a month. Depending on the length of the delay, managers may have to figure out how to cover the work that needs to be done.
  • Long breaks are one of the most common sources of time theft in many organizations, whether intentional or unintentional. While all employees deserve the opportunity for a break during a shift, late returns from break lead to understaffing, even for a brief time, and lost productivity.
  • Early departures often come with a manager’s approval due to employee illness, childcare emergencies, and other unforeseen occurrences. But whatever the reason, when an employee leaves before the end of a shift, you’re left with a coverage gap – and a cost to your company.

The unpredictable nature of absenteeism makes it difficult to plan for. The good news is that implementing automated time and attendance policies can help you minimize the impact of unexpected employee absences.

Many companies have policies in place that define acceptable reasons for absences and outline the disciplinary consequences for unplanned absenteeism. But these policies are often not published or, worse, unevenly enforced. A discretionary approach to enforcing absence policies leads to inconsistent and unfair treatment of employees, which results in low employee morale and the possibility of litigation.

An automated workforce solution can help solve these issues on several levels. Automated time and attendance tracking allow you to reduce the possibility of “gaming the system” in terms of cutting shifts short. It also helps your managers identify those employees who are chronic offenders, versus those whose absences are uncommon, and respond accordingly. And an automated system allows you to fully communicate your absence policies and monitor compliance on the part of your managers. Of course, for any automated solution to be successful, management procedures must be defined and enforced.

A cloud-based solution also allows you to schedule your workforce more accurately and gives you the capability to take into account employee preferences and availability and to publish schedules well in advance, giving employees the opportunity to adapt if necessary. Employees also have the ability to request specific shifts, swap shifts, and request time off quickly and easily. These are all measures that can help reduce unplanned absences. In addition, this level of autonomy over scheduling increases employee satisfaction. And satisfied employees are more likely to show up for work on time, and less likely to leave early.

A cloud-based workforce management solution like Workforce Go! HCM can help your organization improve your absence management, boost employee satisfaction, and increase your profitability. To find out more about Workforce Go! HCM, contact us today at or 214-800-5575.

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