The cost to the Welsh economy of work-related ill health is estimated at £500m per annum[i] and new YouGov research[ii] has revealed that 22% of British businesses lack expertise when managing workplace absence. One Welsh company that has transformed its absence management is leading construction firm, JEHU Group through the introduction of Activ Absence from another Welsh company, Codel Software.
One of the biggest challenges for JEHU Group was managing the sickness absence and annual leave requests of a growing workforce that is geographically dispersed.
The company needed an efficient IT system to replace the manual process the company had been using to enable its managers to take more responsibility for managing their team’s holiday leave and absences and reduce the administrative pressure on the HR team.
The company decided to invest in an absence management system and after researching the options available, they implemented Activ Absence in January 2017. It was only on signing the contract that they realised that Codel Software was also based in Wales and in the same town as them, and not only that but that JEHU Group had constructed their office building.
Gwilym Hughes, HR Strategic Business Manager, JEHU Group explains,
“The main attractions of Activ Absence were that it is easy to use and cloud based so people can access it wherever they are on their mobile phones, tablets or laptops. As our workforce is geographically dispersed and the majority are not based in the office this was essential.
“Price was also a consideration and Activ Absence was competitively priced. In fact, the system has already paid for itself as we’ve found the benefits far outweigh the cost.”
JEHU Group has grown quickly in recent years and the annual leave booking and sickness reporting processes originally put in place when the company was much smaller had become difficult to manage as they required a great deal of administration. Annual leave and sickness absence were recorded on a Microsoft Access database and managed by email and telephone with reports produced manually.
Adrian Lewis, Director, Activ Absence says,
“Like JEHU Group, businesses typically deploy our software to take charge of staff holiday planning, however, it is the sickness absence features they quickly find indispensable. The first step in managing absence effectively is to record it accurately. This allows companies to monitor patterns and identify any issues. They can then target wellness initiatives effectively and ensure staff are getting the right support as early as possible.”
By employing Activ Absence software, JEHU Group now have an online return to work procedure when an employee has been off sick, replacing the paper-based system used previously. The system also prompts managers to conduct a return to work interview after sickness before they can sign it off.
“We find the sickness absence reporting really useful and use them in monthly senior management team meetings. Being able to monitor and track patterns in sickness absence has enabled us to see what issues are affecting our staff and tailor our employee benefit offerings accordingly.
“For example, Activ Absence’s reports have highlighted that one common reason for sickness absence amongst our employees is musculoskeletal issues, so we implemented a health benefit for all employees that gives them access to consultations and physiotherapy.”
Replacing their old system with Activ Absence has enabled JEHU Group to streamline their absence management processes and procedures and face the future equipped for their continued growth.