Paul Rose, Center of Excellence Manager, Employee Central

“Absence Management enables organizations to automate the processes for planning and compensating paid and unpaid time off for a multinational workforce”


Recommendation 1: Standardize system design globally where possible

With any globalized solution, companies should seek to standardize wherever business requirements can justify it. In my experience, organizations in most countries can:

  • Streamline work schedules for salaried employees
  • Make approval processes (workflows) consistent for absence types
  • Enable similar employee self-service and manager self-service features
  • Build a common global definition for unauthorized absence
  • Standardise carryover of leave entitlements (this may be only possible at the regional level with tight regulations in specific location groups)

Recommendation 2: Identify Key Enablers to this Globalized Design Approach

Senior leadership must staff the project with skilled, experienced resources who are committed to the value of a uniform approach and can sell its benefits to the business. Working through harmonization of absence management components is challenging, requiring both technical and people skills. In the absence of such skillsets, the project may falter.

Often, software implementation projects are burdened with unrealistic timelines. Those projects end up being task driven, and the holistic global approach is not supported; project leaders must be willing to push back to allow an effective design process.

Recommendation 3: Understand and Apply Country Specific Considerations

Absence management – complex and highly regulated by nature – is inherently country specific. Critically, the software solution must be able to incorporate intricate localised regulations. Within this topic there are three notable points for organizations to ensure an efficient implementation:

  • Quota calculations may be unique per country, with certain calculations defined by national regulation like FMLA in the United States. They may also be based on more generic measures such as length of service and job grade.
  • Time account periods will vary across the globe; for example in California it is done on a monthly basis.
  • Language functionality must be enabled according to country, so the relevant application must support this.

Recommendation 4: Invest in a Concerted Change Management Approach

Inevitably with any new global system deployment, resistance to change will be prevalent. Local stakeholders will struggle to rationalise the need for a new application when the legacy system or possibly spreadsheet filled the need effectively in the past. Knowledgeable and understanding project staff need to engage with these internal customers at least six to nine months before deployment to help them embrace or at least understand the need for the new technology. Local contacts will only be motivated to upskill in the new process and functionality if project experts sell its benefits in a planned, effective manner.


According to Gartner Research, disciplined absence management has a direct cost saving benefit, with best-in-class organizations incurring one-quarter of the costs of their less disciplined peers. http://ihrim.org/Pubonline/Wire/July12/SumT_wp_absence_management_time_productivity.pdf
The optimum way to achieve this cost saving is to implement a modernised, streamlined absence management solution which will offer stakeholders the opportunity to conduct pertinent absence data analysis on a local and global scale.