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What is an Employee Call-Off Hotline?
Aaron Boatin

By: Aaron Boatin on April 25th, 2024

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What is an Employee Call-Off Hotline?

Human Resources/HR Solutions

This blog was originally published on 1/18/2021 and has been updated for relevance.

One of the facts of life is that your employees will call in from work at one point or another. And if you’re in charge of managing their absences, you need a system. Or else, you may find yourself in a very messy situation.

Many medium to large sized businesses lack a standardized protocol for employees calling off absent, late, or wanting to leave early. Some employees call their managers, coworkers, HR persons, or anyone willing to pick up the phone late at night.

The problem with this: how do you track absences? How can you be sure any record of an absence being taken down is legitimate? How do you deal with a high influx of calls if there’s bad weather, for instance?

An employee call off hotline is a good solution to the HR managers absence management problem. 

In this blog, we’ll look at what is an employee call-off hotline, how it works, and what the benefits of it are. Then, we’ll send you off with a bit more knowledge about employee call-off hotlines and whether they’re right for your company.

  1. What Exactly Is an Employee Call Off Hotline?
  2. How Does an Employee Call Off Hotline Work?
  3. What Do You Need To Set Up An Employee Call Off Hotline?
  4. What are the Benefits of an Employee Call Off Hotline?


What Exactly Is an Employee Call-Off Hotline?

An employee call-off hotline is a dedicated number your staff members call if they’re going to be late or absent from work. It’s sometimes known as an employee absence tracker. This call-off hotline can run 24/7 if you’d like or if the answering service you work with allows it. 


How Does An Employee Call-Off Hotline Work?

First, you decide which call center or answering service you’d want to work with. Then, once you turn call forwarding on the desired number for your call-off hotline, the answering service will begin taking calls on behalf of your business and absence tracking will start. 

The call center agents will answer the calls in your business’ name or whatever personalized greeting you provide them with. They’ll then gather the information you deem necessary for recording an absence. This information is forwarded to the person(s) you want notified.

How are absences tracked? 

Good question! With an absence tracker, almost always the call will end with the call center agent providing your employee with a confirmation number. Your employees may or may not take it down, but having the call stamped with the confirmation number puts to rest any potential “he said, she said” situation.

Now you might be wondering what we mean by necessary information.


What Do You Need to Set Up an Employee Call-Off Hotline?

Based on the call-off hotlines we’ve set up, the “necessary information” usually includes the information required to file an absence in our absence: the date/time of the absence, employee ID number/employee name, reason for absence (sick, FMLA, other, etc.), shift work, and date of return, among others.

In the screenshot below is what the interface of Ambs Call Center's software looks like when our call center agents answer a phone call on business’ call off line.

As you can see, the first question asked is for the employee’s last name. With most answering services, this question is asked so the call center agent can hit the RETURN key on their keyboard to search your employee database for that employee’s information. This way the information can be pre-populated quickly. 

If you’re receiving many call offs each day, you’d want the call center agents to be able to pre-populate the employees information to cut the time-per-call which cuts the cost-per-call. This is just one of many ways for you to save on answering service costs.

Often, when a company gets an employee call-off hotline, they usually include informational hotlines and text messaging in their plan. This would be relevant for your business if, say, you run a construction site. 

Site closures due to any reason happen more often than you think. If that were to happen, your employees would be calling into the same number, where they would be notified of any on-site changes. This can also be done if your answering service allows for text messaging!

Depending on your specific needs, employee call-off services are frequently combined with informational hotlines and various message delivery options such as text messaging.

An employee call off hotline is highly customizable, so don’t worry if you’re thinking that you're locked into a service. The right answering service partner for your business will ensure that your plan is flexible depending on your needs.

Want to minimize costs from employee absenteeism? Check out our Employee Call Out Hotline Guide or Download the Free eBook!

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What Are the Benefits of an Employee Call Off Hotline?

While there are many benefits to an employee call-off hotline, we’re going to outline the main three points that may help you decide if an employee call-off hotline is a good decision for your business.

1. Your Business Receives Complete and Accurate Documentation of All Employee Absences

When employees call coworkers or leave messages for their manager, all too often, important pieces of information aren't communicated, are misunderstood or get lost when the message gets conveyed to those who need to know.

The last thing you want, as a manager, is to have to deal with employees with a ‘he said, she said’ argument. The best way to mitigate that is with an employee absence tracker.

With a professional absence tracker, you’re ensured that all of the vital information required is accurately obtained. This includes the employee’s full name, when they were scheduled to work, the reason they will be missing work and how long they anticipate being away from work.

Also, calls made are automatically time and date stamped and recorded. The system also notes the number from which the employee called. When a conflict occurs, records can be provided as well as audio copies of every conversation.

2. You Can Work Uninterrupted with an Absence Tracker

Even if you have a clearly defined attendance policy with details on who to call for absences, it can still leave you scrambling to fill shifts. Even if the message was left overnight, a shift supervisor might not pick up the message until he or she arrives at work in the morning to find out that the team will be short staffed.

When you get into work, you deserve to be able to get into work, not deal with HR problems like employee absences.

With an employee call-off service, those that need to know about a call off are immediately alerted. This can include the employee’s manager, shift supervisor, as well as the human resource manager. The system is flexible so that the message can be delivered to the right people, the right way.

3. A Call Off Hotline Increases Your Business’ Productivity

In addition to the reduced work stoppages, it's easy to see how the implementation of an employee call-off service can help to boost productivity elsewhere within your organization.

In your business, you may be taking additional time away from work to sort out employee attendance records. For most smaller companies, this isn’t such a big deal. However, if it’s a day with bad weather or if a plant closes, HR managers tend to scramble to find the time to deal with employee attendance tracking.

If you’re a HR manager, or just a business manager, having consistency and efficiency for any business process is very important.

With an employee call off hotline, you’ll be sure to have:

  • Assured accuracy
  • Timely delivery of information
  • Detailed report sent to your HR manager

This will make your HR and payroll processes much more efficient. And even on the frontlines, an employee call off hotline can improve productivity.

Your employees won't have to waste time trying to figure out who needs to know about an absence and getting that information to them.

Additionally, a system like an employee call off hotline, will help reduce non-legitimate absences. If an employee is aware that a foolproof and formal system is in place that records and tracks all of their absences, they will be less likely to try to take advantage of it.

After you've introduced an employee call-off service in your company, you'll soon see the headaches associated with communicating and tracking absences completely disappear. You'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

Is an Employee Call Off Hotline Right For My business?

If you run a medium to large sized company that doesn’t currently have an employee call off system, an employee call off hotline is a good investment.

If you run a small business, it might not be necessary. However, you still stand to gain all the benefits listed above with an employee call off hotline. It’s up to you in this regard to see if the cost of an employee call off hotline is justified for your small business.

Now that you know what is an employee call off hotline, how it works, and what some of its benefits are, you can decide if it’s the right decision for your business!

But before that, you may find yourself wanting to know what the costs of an employee call off hotline are or what the other benefits of an employee call off hotline are. Or, you might want to know how to best manage your company's absences. If so, check out our employee call off hotline guide where we look at everything related to employee absence management! 

If you have further questions and would like to speak to a professional about call off hotlines, feel free to fill out the form below and someone will be right with you. We take pride in getting you to the point of making an informed decision for your business. Even if it means you don’t end up doing business with us, we’ll be glad to know you made a decision you are sure of. And, no, we never spam.

About Aaron Boatin