6 Problems Solved by an Employee Call-Off Hotline
“But I DID call! It’s your fault, not mine, that you didn’t get the message.”
Maybe they did call, maybe they didn’t, but either way you, as a manager, have a problem on your hands. The first problem could be with the employee making this statement, especially if you can’t easily verify their claim, and he or she used this excuse before. You may even be wondering if a pattern of absenteeism is being created.
The second problem could be your organization and your absence procedures. If you don’t have a clear process in place to guide employees to notify you and others when they need to call in sick, especially after-hours, you’ll be faced with not knowing who will actually show up and scrambling to find help at the last second. Other employees may also not like their workloads being impacted, especially if this happens regularly.
Worse, you may think you have to decide whether someone is lying or telling the truth about who, how and when they called about being sick. Definitely not something that’s supposed to be in anyone’s managerial job description. (You should be focusing on motivating people to perform their best, not lie detecting, right?)
This approach can also potentially open all sorts of legal and medical privacy cans of worms that your Legal/Human Resources team will likely tell you are much better left to the professionals.
There’s a simple solution: leave the sick leave reporting to the professionals.
An employee call-off hotline can offer a centralized place for all team members to call and report being sick around the clock. An actual customer service agent will get the basic details from them about why they can’t make it in and how long they expect to be out.
Representatives from the attendance line will quickly relay the information to the appropriate manager in a manner that makes sure they always get the message in a timely manner.
The intent is that your HR department and supervisors will have all the available information ahead of time to accommodate scheduling, and employees will also be able to start recuperating knowing that everyone has been properly notified and they will not potentially face a talking-to or other discipline when they return about failing to inform the right people.
These types of call-off services can solve a variety of ‘calling in sick’ problems at the employee and managerial level.
Take Control of Your Employee Absence Management
1. “I Didn’t Know Who to Call.”
If someone gets sick in the middle of the night, do they really want to wake up their boss?
Should they text or email anyway even though the recipient may not get it until the next day?
How will they know the employee is really sick if they can’t hear their voice?
Do they call the main switchboard or security?
Do they call a co-worker, another manager or an admin and have them pass on a message?
Do they wait until morning until people start coming in?
An employee call-off hotline will eliminate all of these anxious thoughts. Ask your employees to please call the attendance line. It is one centralized number where they provide their information, and their call out is logged and dated and sent to the appropriate manager.
2. “We Never Received Your Message.”
Perhaps the employee truly left a voicemail on a phone that’s rarely checked. Maybe they called or sent an email to someone who they didn’t know was sick or on vacation, so the proper message wasn’t relayed. Or even worse, the employee called the proper number and their absence was attributed to someone with a similar name.
An absence reporting service can not only verify the caller's details and match them to their employee or badge number. It can also make sure the correct people are getting the message in whatever format they’re likely to see it, such as email, text or through a web browser.
3. “I Didn’t Understand Your Message.”
Leaving a voicemail when sick or asking a colleague to relay a message could run the risk of details being lost, garbled or incomplete. Especially when that voicemail goes into a general mailbox for all supervisors and you’re left scratching your head asking “Which Joe on second shift is sick? There are 4. At least that didn’t sound like my guy… man I’ll have to call him back.”
An absence call out line will gather consistent data whenever anyone calls. This information will include a quick summary of the health situation, how long they think they’ll be out, and their contact information. There won’t be any medical diagnoses given or requested, however, HR Managers will have a full picture of the situation without calling the employee back.
4. “I Don’t Know How Many Sick Hours I Have Left.”
Payroll should be able to furnish you or the employee with that info, but it’s sometimes the last thing people will be thinking about when calling in sick. Good news is that the call-off service can help keep track of total hours used.
This can also provide consistent info to managers if there is a possible pattern of abuse, such as someone calling in sick on every Friday or Monday. HR still should be consulted, but at least they’ll have clear objective data, more than “it feels like this person is gone a lot more than they should be.”
5. “Our Records Show You Missed Work on These Days.”
Systems and memories aren’t perfect, so a call-off service can also offer protection to employees from paperwork problems or faulty memories. The HR team will be able to quickly run reports in real-time detailing a specific individual's call-off history. While you may recall that an employee missed a couple of days of work and you had to call people in who let you know they weren’t really happy about it; having a detailed report showing each incident will help give context to your memory. Also, an employee will remember that they called the proper number as instructed, left a clear message, and received a confirmation code. These confirmation codes can provide a trackable defense that the employee followed proper protocol.
6. “You Believe Me, Don’t You?”
An absence reporting service keeps you from answering questions like this. Instead, you’ll have a clear paper trail that an employee called in and received a confirmation code, or that they didn’t. It’s up to you and your HR team to decide if this requires discipline or a training opportunity but at least you’ll have clear data backing you up.
Overall, a call-off service can help your organization spot possible abuses, chronic absenteeism, unverified claims of attendance or not following directions. It also provides a clear process for employees when they’re feeling poorly. For more information on managing employee absences, download our free guide.