HRO Can Help Stem Absence Management Cost Hits – But There’s More

A recent CyberShift survey found that one third of the 1,088 respondents cited absence management as a continuing top priority. Yet 53 percent of the survey participants stated they did not have an automated system in place for absence, leave, vacation and FMLA tracking. This is a pretty scary statistic, especially when, per CyberShift, unscheduled absenteeism can cost businesses more than $760,000 per year in direct payroll costs alone.

At the same time, forward-thinking buy-side companies over the past couple of years have awarded absence management contracts to HRO providers, and the vendors are beefing up their absence management offerings. Let’s take a look.

Absence Management Contracts

  • MidlandHR was awarded 10 contracts in the last two years for its iTrent HR and payroll software, including its absence management modules, by the University of Exeter, Capel Manor College, Oxford City Council, NetworkersMSB, Pentagon Investments, Preston College, Which? (yes, this is an actual company name), Manchester Fire and Rescue, Kent County Council and Farnborough College
  • Wipro implemented Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise HCM 9.0 for Jammu & Kashmir Bank in India. Modules implemented include absence management and approval workflow
  • NorthgateArinso won a five-year contract with Hastings College for its ResourceLink HR platform, which supports absence management
  • Convergys entered into a five-year contract renewal for multi-process HRO services with a leading business services company; components of the contract include absence management and leave administration
  • Hewitt was awarded several unnamed contracts that include absence management
  • Raet won a 10-year contract with OSG for its online HR portal, which includes absence management

Providers’ Enhanced Absence Management Offerings

Just a couple of weeks ago, Capita acquired FirstAssist Services Holdings Ltd. to strengthen its capabilities in health and workforce management, including absence management. In January, Hewitt added participant advocacy services to its absence management offering. In August, Ceridian added Presagia’s employee leave management software to support its leave management services. And Xchanging announced an alliance with absence management specialist FirstCare through which the two parties will jointly go to market with FirstCare’s absence management and occupational health pre-employment screening services and Xchanging’s portfolio of HRO services.  

Here’s my take. Leveraging software and services for absence management tracking is a great step in the right direction when it comes to stemming costs. But equally, if not more, important is drilling down into the why’s of non-authorized and non-sick absences. This maps to blogs I’ve written over the past year that focus on rampant employee dissatisfaction. Unhappy employees are more inclined to call in sick simply because they don’t want to go to their jobs. Get to the heart of employee dissatisfaction, fix what is truly broken across the enterprise, and absenteeism will decrease. Strong leadership and performance management training is invaluable in helping determine the root of employee discontent. Corporations lacking internal training programs of this type can leverage offerings from both full-scope and pure-play learning services HRO providers.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

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