AWOL means absence without official leave. This is a term actually borrowed from the military by HR function to mention employees who take leave without recording or hiding the information.
Obviously, there are instances of many unofficial leaves which are not recorded in the system. It becomes more complicated in the SME segment as many SMEs focus on results and bypass processes in most of their transactions and functions.
It is also difficult to pinpoint whether it is intentional or a process failure in many cases. It is always a great challenge for SMEs to insist on processes when the same is being kept minimal in most of their functions giving conflicting signals to employees.
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Why AWOL happens in SME
Let’s see factors resulting in AWOL
- Many a time SMEs can’t provide a career path to employees and for many, the job is simply a short Gap arrangement.
- For some, their job is nothing but an extended college term in their perception.
- Most of the functions in SME are headed by owners whose attention is completely sparser between many business challenges.
- SMEs can’t afford enterprise level technologies to manage their workforce as it will be an overkill far outweighing the cost than the benefits.
- Many a time it sets in as a culture due to prevailing practices followed by others in the industry.
- By nature, it is more practical for the field staff and those who go regularly on outside work.
- In many SME cases, it goes by gut and feeling to identify the incidents and not possible to back by any hardcore data to prove it.
- The absence of an effective HR function in the setup
Effect of AWOL on Business
AWOL affects the business in more ways than one.
First, it destroys the sense of fairness in the system and affects the work culture itself and though the company may not know it, most of the employees are aware of the incidents who simply wait and watch as how it is being managed in the system.
It affects your credibility amongst the customers as many commitments are not met with be it a meeting or a service call attending. The real issue is your customer perception of your Organisation.
Many a time such issues are escalated as requiring the personal attention of owner to get things completed in “your” system. It also demoralizes other employees who work as per plan.
The financial losses may be summarized as salary being paid for leaves or unauthorized leave credit, loss of business opportunity amongst other things.
Even more harmful is the policy tweaking to factor such behaviors which might unnecessarily affect genuine employees.
The problem is even bigger in enterprises operating from multi-location without a proper control. It is not new in our country where bogus employees are being paid salaries in project sites.
What can be done to avoid AWOL?
The job has moved beyond offices. Now we are in a world where employees are allowed to work from home and sites. Considering the trend in the expansion of cities and the chaotic traffic these challenges will only increase in the future.
What you need is a robust cost-effective attendance system which will shift the responsibility on the employee to capture attendance for records wherever he is for office work preferably identifying the employee with foolproof timing and location. It should also correlate with the movement of employees for official work. Assume you have business units in different locations it should also enable you to check the attendance from multiple locations preferably in your mobile.
When we use our smartphone for secure bank transactions, why not take advantage of the same for our HR needs. The world has moved. We have to move with times. Isn’t it?
This article is published for educational purposes only.
Resolve and its team has in-depth experience in the domain and have worked with SME’s and appreciate their difficulties and wish to offer products and services that are designed specifically to meet their needs. Our products are highly configurable to suit existing practices rather than attempting the business to force fit any notion of best practice. The software is based on a Mobile-first paradigm considering the widespread adoption of smartphones. The customer comes first and can decide to take only ONE product and pay only for that or with the Single Sign-On feature can incrementally add more products as is required by him as and when he needs the same. This way the price function ratio is fully optimized. In any case, the prices are set at highly affordable rates so that cost is not an inhibitor for customer adoption.
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