Absence Planning in Organisations

Absence Planning in Organisations

Absence planning is a critical function within any organization. It involves ensuring that employee absences, whether planned or unplanned, do not disrupt operations. Effective absence planning can help maintain productivity, morale, and customer satisfaction. Such effectiveness can be achieved by using a leave of absence tracking software, however often people don’t immediately see the need.

Therefore we will begin by exploring the Job-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework approach by creating a job map. This map will outline the key steps involved in absence planning and identify areas for improvement.

Step 1: Define the Scope of Absence Planning

Before creating the job map, it’s essential to define the scope of absence planning. This typically includes managing employee leaves, addressing unexpected absences, and ensuring that there is sufficient coverage for all roles. The goal is to minimize the impact of absences on the organization’s operations. Do not look at absence management vendors at this point as that would be too early.

Step 2: Identify the Key Steps in Absence Planning

A job map breaks down the process into discrete steps. For absence planning, these steps might include:

  1. Identify the Need for Absence: This involves recognizing when an employee needs to take time off, whether for vacation, illness, personal reasons, or other purposes.
  2. Request and Approve Absence: Employees submit absence requests, and managers review and approve these requests based on organizational policies and staffing levels.
  3. Plan for Coverage: Determine how the employee’s duties will be covered during their absence, including reassigning tasks, hiring temporary staff, or adjusting schedules.
  4. Communicate Absence Plans: Inform relevant stakeholders, such as team members and clients, about the absence and the plans for coverage.
  5. Monitor and Adjust Plans: Continuously monitor the absence plan’s effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary to address any issues that arise.
  6. Track Absence Data: Maintain records of employee absences for reporting and analysis purposes.

Step 3: Evaluate Each Step for Improvement Opportunities

Using the job map, we can systematically evaluate each step to identify areas where improvements can be made. This evaluation can be done by asking a series of questions:

  1. Identify the Need for Absence
  • Where do employees struggle the most to communicate their need for absence?
  • What causes delays in recognizing the need for absence?
  • Can we streamline the process of identifying absence needs?

2. Request and Approve Absence

  • Are there bottlenecks in the approval process?
  • How can we make the request and approval process more efficient?
  • Are employees satisfied with the current process for requesting absences?

3. Plan for Coverage

  • What are the challenges in finding suitable coverage for absent employees?
  • How can we ensure that coverage plans are reliable and effective?
  • Is there a way to automate or simplify the planning process?

4. Communicate Absence Plans

  • Are absence plans communicated effectively to all relevant parties?
  • How can we improve communication to prevent misunderstandings or disruptions?
  • Is there a need for better tools or platforms for communication?

5. Monitor and Adjust Plans

  • How do we track the effectiveness of absence plans?
  • What mechanisms are in place to make adjustments quickly when needed?
  • Can we improve our monitoring and adjustment processes?

6. Track Absence Data

  • Are we accurately tracking all relevant absence data?
  • How can we use this data to identify trends and improve absence management?
  • Is our data collection process efficient and user-friendly?

Step 4: Prioritize Improvement Opportunities

After identifying potential improvement areas, the next step is to prioritize them based on their impact and feasibility. This can be done using a scoring system that evaluates the importance and frequency of each step, as well as the level of customer frustration with the current process.

For example:

  • Importance: Rate each step on a scale of 1-5 based on its importance to the overall process.
  • Frequency: Rate each step on a scale of 1-5 based on how often it occurs.
  • Frustration: Rate each step on a scale of 1-5 based on the level of frustration employees experience.

Step 5: Implement and Test Solutions

Once the priority areas are identified, the next step is to brainstorm and implement solutions. This may involve developing new tools, processes, or policies to address the identified challenges. It’s important to test these solutions in a controlled environment and gather feedback from employees to ensure they effectively address the problems. At this stage you can start exploring absence management platforms or absence management products that may accommodate your needs.


Creating a job map for absence planning helps organizations systematically identify and address challenges in the absence management process. By breaking down the process into discrete steps and evaluating each one for improvement opportunities, organizations can develop targeted solutions that enhance efficiency, reduce frustration, and maintain productivity. This approach not only benefits employees by making the absence planning process smoother but also ensures that the organisation can continue to operate effectively even when key personnel are absent.