Why (and how) to choose absence management software

8 Apr 24 | Blog

If you’re a people leader, there’s a lot to keep on top of. And managing absence isn’t always going to be at the top of your list. But as we’ve discussed, ignoring this particular metric can have disastrous consequences.    

That’s why we’d recommend choosing and using an absence management system. That way, the hard work is done for you.

What is the best way to record employee absence?

When it comes to recording employee absence, you’ve got a few options…

  • Manually on spreadsheets: if you’ve ever asked “how do I track employee absences in Excel?”, then you’ve already identified the need to automate the process. It may be the cheapest option, but it’ll cost you in time

  • Using your HR platform: many organisations now use a HRIS that allows employees to log absences, annual leave, and even sign contracts – and you can keep track of time off that way. But it won’t help with analysis…

  • With dedicated software: a people analytics platform should allow you to take absence data, and understand it both historically and horizontally across teams – so you can spot trends and risk areas in your organisation.

What is absence management software?

Absence management software allows you to track absences, and collect the reasons behind them. It should also allow you to view absence rates in different teams and departments, filter by demographics and characteristics, and identify trends and risk areas.

The key is understanding what’s driving absence rates, and knowing if there’s anything out of the ordinary. Is there a team under too much stress? Do you have unsafe working conditions? Is there an inclusion issue driving mental health issues? It’s all about seeing the bigger picture, and how absence relates to productivity and retention.

Questions to pick an absence management solution

What data sources do you have? 

If you have an existing HR platform you’re using for tracking, rather than analysis and management, consider a solution that ‘plugs in’ to your other software. 

What features are you interested in?

Do you just want to know your absence rate, or overall number of sick days? Or do you want to identify rising trends or potential risk areas, and what’s driving that?

What are you trying to achieve?

Do you want to cut down on absenteeism? Or do you see a wider morale, productivity, or attrition problem? This question is particularly key to answer.

3 examples of absence management systems


BambooHR offers HR software that covers a range of administrative tasks, from managing payroll and timesheets to hiring and onboarding. Included in their suite of features, you can manage time-off and view sickness absences – so it’s covered as part of their wider platform.

2. Timetastic

Timetastic is primarily a tool for booking and tracking staff holidays, making it easy to view calendars and request and approve time off. You can also request and report on sick leave as part of this, and set your custom leave types too.

3. Qlearsite

Qlearsite is a HR analytics and benchmarking platform, so – first and foremost – our priority is learning from your data. As part of our Pro package, you can understand absence metrics, view relevant benchmarking data for your industry, and see trends and risk areas. 

But as we said, it’s all about the bigger picture. That’s why, alongside absence, you can understand attrition, gender ratio, salary, engagement, and much more – because it’s all related to your overall productivity and profitability. 

How is our absence management system used?

Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up and connect your HR platform, for auto-insights about your data
  • See absence metrics in different teams, demographics, and departments
  • Benchmark your organisation against dynamic, industry-relevant data

Speak to us about Qlearsite Pro

Make informed decisions, lead with confidence

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