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Assuring you have a winning team in this world cup!

Depending on when you read this the FIFA World Cup is either about to start in Qatar, or has already begun, and your team is doing well or on the verge of being knocked out! But, as ever with holiday seasons, national holidays, major sporting, and other significant events, these can have a disruptive effect on attendance for many businesses. Employee absence is a fact of life for all organisations - but what can sometimes feel like a small issue has the potential to snowball into much bigger problems without proper management and can prove to be especially tricky in such times where these abstraction levels may be higher than the norm. A lack of visibility over the true scale of absenteeism in your team can quickly become dangerous, cutting into operational efficiency and the bottom line while putting more strain on the rest of the workforce.

Players are under contract
When employees join an organisation they agree to work to a contract of employment, which commits them to make themselves available for work at the times specified within their contract. Irrespective of national events, such as the world cup, they commit to make every effort to present themselves in a state such that they are able to work (watch out for overindulgent celebrations!).

Use all tactics available
All organisations should have a clearly defined absence policy, the ultimate goal of which is to keep unplanned absence to an absolute minimum (Try to avoid last minute substitutions!). This should range from return-to-work protocols, to defined disciplinary procedures, to proactive measures to keep absence rates down (e.g., the offer of flexible working arrangements).

Use as many options as you can to fit with requirements, remind employees that they have the option to take annual leave. When time off is planned in advance it gives planners a better opportunity to adjust schedules and manage tasks more smoothly (and put the best team out from the players available!).

Having the right software solution in place is crucial. The best workforce management systems give organisations the visibility and control they need while making sure absence policies are upheld.

Ultimately, there are a few major areas for businesses to target in order to reduce absences and mitigate the impact of absences that can’t be avoided:

  • Identifying suspicious patterns of absence that may indicate staff are “gaming” the system (see the timetable below)
  • Following up on every instance of absence to gain as much information as possible
  • Accurately recording absences to reduce payroll error
  • Rearranging shift patterns and work schedules quickly to accommodate for absent staff
  • Creating a working environment where illegitimate absences are less likely to occur
  • Being consistent. If you let the odd “sickie” go this could make it difficult to meaningfully enforce any action or sanctions on future occasions or to others.

For good morale,  organisations may want to provide every opportunity to allow those that wish to, to follow their team, but they will also want to remain productive to agreed service levels.

It may be possible, depending on operational requirements, to screen key matches in the workplace or by radio during working hours, or have enhanced flexibility for employees to take a break from work and watch a match and then be required to make up lost time.

A planned approach is the best option. England and Wales group fixtures (and possible following games, fingers crossed!) are shown below. However, you may need further understanding and monitoring of other teams given the wide multinational makeup of the UK workforce who could support other teams. Also, whatever your approach, the last point of being consistent must be adhered to, for fairness and equality. This means avoiding discrimination, especially after the recent success of the Lionesses in the Euros.

World Cup Schedule


How can a strong time and attendance system help?

(Helping the players, managers, trainers, and the backroom staff!)

A robust time and attendance solution, that feeds into a wider workforce management system, can provide organisations with a crucial edge. Good absence management is all about having the right processes in place and the visibility required to truly keep track of absenteeism in your organisation. Time and attendance systems can make a massive difference in both regards. It’s also important to recognise that to realise the true potential of time and attendance solutions for tackling absenteeism, utilising other aspects of a strong workforce management system is also key.

Here are some of the ways a high quality time and attendance system can be used to get a true handle on absence management.

Automate clocking for a more accurate payroll

(A good referee!)

With a large proportion of organisations still relying on pen and paper timesheets to track time and attendance, errors and miscalculations are a common theme. What’s more, this way of working can lead to duplicated data, and a whole load of confusion when it comes to calculating real hours worked.

A strong time and attendance solution captures data once and at source, feeding directly into the wider workforce management system. This gives organisations the most accurate view of time worked and allows them to flag up absences instantly. It ensures a more accurate payroll - where absent staff can be deducted pay if required by company rules. This also has the benefit of ensuring overtime pay is truly accurate, cutting down on wastage and creating a fair environment for all workers.

Spot patterns and predict trends

Red Card

(To prevent RED cards!)

With all time and attendance information stored to a central database, organisations have the opportunity to analyse absences in a new level of detail. By systematically comparing the hours worked by all staff to expected work patterns, any concerning absence trends can quickly be identified. Whereas before, a string of unexpected absences from a single employee may have gone unnoticed, time and attendance systems automatically notify managers of unusual trends for further investigation which could be directly compared with match fixtures.

In an integrated workforce management system, time and attendance data automatically populates analytics dashboards - giving managers a top-line overview of absence on a departmental, divisional and individual level.

Smart scheduling

(Recognising team and strategic requirements to avoid penalty shootouts!)

Workforce management systems can bring an end to endless spreadsheets and siloed data, meaning information can flow freely into rostering and scheduling. The wealth of data stored is highly valuable for predicting future patterns of absence. For instance, staff are statistically more likely to be off sick during winter months, and more likely to take their holidays in the summer months. Obviously, the table shown above of match fixtures may be useful here. Managers are therefore able to schedule into the future more confidently, armed with reliable data on expected attendance levels.

Time and attendance data also helps readjust schedules seamlessly at short notice in the event of unexpected absences.

Incorporate defined rules

(Understanding the offside rule and more!)

A full workforce management system allows the setting of unlimited numbers of rules to help uphold absence policies, helping to investigate absences and discourage future absenteeism. Time and attendance data acts as the ‘fuel’ that helps organisations keep across absences and correctly enforce processes.

Logic can be established to automatically:

  • Notify managers of suspicious patterns of absence
  • Trigger the return-to-work process when a staff member returns from a period of absence
  • Open disciplinary procedures based on attendance patterns (i.e., persistent lateness)

Drive down absences with Time and Attendance from Crown

(The winning strategy!)

Crown Workforce Management’s Time and Attendance capabilities form the backbone of our workforce management system. Crown allows organisations to capture unprecedented levels of information about the real hours staff work through a range of input devices. This data can be used for detailed analysis of staff attendance and efficiency, to inform the most intelligent future schedules, to ensure more efficient and accurate payroll processing and much more.

To learn how Crown could help your organisation to progress in this competitive world by cutting absenteeism and unnecessary costs, get in touch with one of our specialists (pundits!) today.


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