Employee attendance issues are not going away. Businesses often cite employee absenteeism as one of their most significant challenges.
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The detrimental effects of absenteeism include:
- Decreased Production
- Lost Revenue
- Increased Attrition
- Missed Deadlines
- Employee/Union Disputes
- Management Hurdles
- Lower Customer Satisfaction
- Critical Roles Unfilled
CMS has spent the past two decades helping businesses mitigate and reduce the costs of employee attendance issues. While we can’t eliminate absenteeism, our Attendance Hotline Solutions streamline processes and make call-offs easier to manage.
Attendance point tracking, automated disciplinary actions, mass notifications, anonymous reporting, and backfill/shift fill are all features that work together to save organizations time and money.
Our clients have cited our automated backfill/shift-fill technology as a revolutionary innovation. We take your manual backfill process, often a time-consuming, error-prone, unpleasant, and costly process — and create an automated solution through our proprietary software and IVR system.
The result is an automated call-off and attendance management system that is efficient, cost-effective, and accurate.
What is Backfilling?
Backfilling is the process of filling an open position with another employee. It is a reactive process that means “refilling a hole” that has opened within your shift schedule. Backfilling is generally a short-term or immediate process that aims to maintain current staffing levels as quickly as possible with minimal disruption, often from within an existing talent pool.
For example, suppose a skilled employee calls in and will be taking an extended leave of absence under FMLA. In that case, the employer must replace that employee with someone else or risk costly downtime or other operational disruptions. To find shift coverage and fill the position as quickly as possible, backfilling may be employed, which typically means looking within a readily available talent pool, such as existing employees. Unlike hiring for a new position or recruiting new talent, backfilling involves sourcing a qualified replacement in-house.
Backfilling may take on different meanings depending on the exact context. Still, for this article, we refer to filling a position that has opened up due to an employee calling off, taking a leave of absence, or otherwise missing a shift. You may also refer to this as shift filling or simply finding shift coverage.
How Does the Shift Backfill Process Work?
In straightforward terms, backfilling an open shift means finding a qualified replacement as quickly as possible. Whatever steps are necessary to achieve that are your backfilling process. In a small company where every employee is cross-trained and able to perform every job, it could be as simple as calling other employees and seeing who is available when a shift gets dropped.
Rarely is it that simple, however. There are numerous challenges with backfilling that organizations generally need to address, including:
- Finding a qualified replacement. Many jobs have distinct skillsets and require a replacement that is capable of doing the job.
- Finding a replacement that is available and able to work. Qualified reserves may exist within the organization but be unavailable due to other responsibilities or an existing scheduling conflict.
- Scheduling fairness and policy/labor contract adherence. How do you determine who to offer the shift to first if multiple qualified candidates exist? The process should be fair and consistent. Do you have staffing standards or a collective bargaining agreement that governs backfilling? There are often numerous rules that dictate how a manager should go about filling a shift.
- Contacting replacements and tracking responses. Reaching out to a few people may be easy enough, but what if dozens of people are on your contact list? How do you go about reaching everyone and maintaining an accurate audit trail?
Using Backfill Automation to Manage Last-Minute Schedule Changes Effectively
As the above challenges make clear, manually backfilling vacancies can be time-consuming, error-prone, and costly. A better approach is to utilize automation to ensure every factor is taken into consideration quickly.
CMS makes this possible as part of the Attendance Automation functionality available with our Employee Call-Off Hotline.
We make backfill automation possible by customizing our software to fit the exact needs of your organization. Our software can automate the following tasks:
- Identifying qualified and available substitute employees
- Prioritizing shift pick up contact lists by labor cost, overtime status, role, seniority, and other operational or compliance rules
- Contacting qualified substitutes (SMS/text message, voice broadcast, web-based notifications, or email)
- Processing answers and filling the shift
- Providing a detailed audit log that provides all relevant data points
- Integrating with your HRIS or employee database and keeping employee information up to date
CMS Backfill Features
- The ability to input company policies, union contract terms, schedules, and employee data into our software. Our IVR follows your exact backfill process every time. It will not skip eligible employees, overstaff, understaff or delay filling vacancies.
- Backfill fulfillment based on skillset, position, labor cost, seniority, work hour limits, schedule, number of employees, rotation, and any other criteria required to identify and prioritize potential replacements.
- Our algorithm’s intelligent decision-making automatically ranks qualified employees and contacts them one at a time until filling the position, saving you hours and avoiding costly errors.
- Immediate backfill for critical roles. If your facility has a position that cannot go unfulfilled, our backfill service will begin the process of filling a role the moment a call-off is received.
- Online Dashboard to submit requests for open shifts and backfill.
- A detailed audit trail allows you to identify who was contacted and when. All backfill records are stored securely in the cloud, so there will never be a question of whether an employee was skipped or offered an opportunity. You will never have to pay an employee that was supposed to be offered a chance at the shift but was not.