The power of data is well understood by Fleetmatics, a global organisation specialising in developing fleet management software. But, when Michael Arkins joined as HR manager in 2012, the organisation was failing to take full advantage of its own data. “A mixture of spreadsheets and forms were being used to record absence,” he explains. “This meant there was no visibility around absence so it just wasn’t taken very seriously.”
To address this, he introduced an automated absence management system provided by Activ Absence, for the 320 employees based across the six countries, including the UK and Ireland, for which he is responsible. This allows employees to log absence and holidays but also enables Arkins to gain insight into what is happening across the workforce. “We produce bi-monthly reports looking at a variety of different statistics, including the number of days and cost of absence, but we also look for any trends in departments, types of illness, an individual’s record and so on,” he explains.
On the back of data from the system, Arkins has introduced a number of initiatives to support the organisation’s wellbeing and absence strategies. These include a revised sick-pay policy, a healthcare plan that includes private medical insurance and cash plan benefits for its employees in Dublin, and flexible-working options to allow employees to strike a balance between their work and home lives. “The data enables us to spot issues across our workforce and take steps to address them before they escalate,” he adds. “It also means we have the metrics to support our business case and, by continuing to monitor the data, demonstrate the return on investment.”