If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it

I’ve been fielding some questions lately about sick time taken by City employees. This has been prompted by two things: an annual Human Resources report that showed absenteeism is rising, and a decision to address the issue with new attendance management software.

One comment I’ve heard is that managers should simply “tell employees to show up for work.” Of course, managers already do keep records on employee absences – that’s how we had the data for the report in the first place. But we’re talking about an organization with more than 1,500 employees and a $200 million budget. It makes sense for an employer of this size to have a centralized system for managing and tracking attendance. It makes sense for us to make use of software that can help the corporation be more consistent and fair, identify trends sooner, and help managers work with employees on issues affecting their health or performance.

Through data collection and reporting, the City identified a trend of concern – and then proposed a way to address it.  This is a $150,000 tool that could save us $500,000 per year in lost productivity and overtime costs. This represents good value.

By the way, the Human Resources Annual Report covers a lot more than just sick time. I made a commitment at the beginning of the term that you would see more performance measurement – not just when we are doing well but also when we have opportunities to improve.  You can read the report here. Overall – performance improved.

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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