How we use it & why you’ll love it: Absence Management



As we’ve said before, it’s our clients’ feedback that drives our functionality… but that includes guidance from our very own team! After all, the very first “client” payroll we ever ran was our own. We’re turning the spotlight on our own people leaders, payroll pros, and HR gurus to find out how our solutions help them solve their everyday challenges.

Amanda Soloway.

Meet Amanda Soloway! Amanda joined Payworks in 2009 as a one-woman Marketing department. As the company has grown since then, so has the Marketing team, having flourished to 14 people and with Amanda serving as its Senior Manager.

We caught up with Amanda to find out how she uses Absence Management, paired with Employee Self Service (ESS), to stay in communication with her team on both planned and unexpected absences, work distribution and more.


theWorks: Hi Amanda! Can you tell us a bit about your role at Payworks? What do you do, and how many people do you directly manage?

Amanda Soloway, Senior Manager of Marketing: Of our 14-person team, six of those folks report to me, and they work in roles ranging from content development to event management and more. My day-to-day includes reviewing writing and design work, project and budget management, some content development of my own… and of course, lots and lots of meetings!

tW: And what’s your favourite part of your job?

AS: I love how no day is ever the same! There’s so much variety, and there are always lots of opportunities to be creative. I also really enjoy working with and mentoring my team, and seeing them grow in their own roles.

tW: “No day is ever the same” likely also applies to who on your team is tackling which project! How do you use Absence Management and ESS to ensure the right people are in the right place when you need them?

AS: When any member of my team wants to book some time off, they can securely log into ESS from wherever they happen to be and fire off a request. As soon as this happens, I get an email notification that someone has requested time off, and can then log into the system to take a look. I’m also able to action time off requests (TORs) that might have come through for everyone for whom I’m authorized to provide approval, and take care of them all at one time (usually at the end of the day, so I don’t have to log in multiple times a day).

This is really helpful for our group, because there isn’t necessarily a set cadence to when TORs are submitted - sometimes they’re six months in advance of a big vacation, but sometimes they’re for a flex day later in the week or even a sick day the day-of. So it’s super helpful to be notified within my existing workflow when someone is waiting to hear back from me!

Once I’ve logged into Absence Management, I can see upcoming absences for my team all in one spot, which is critical in making sure we’ve got sufficient coverage and don’t have too many people with the same skill set or responsibility gone at the same time. It’s very rare that I need to suggest an alternate day off to an employee, but on the occasions where coverage would be too thin, I’m really glad that I can see it upfront before approving time off we can’t reasonably work around.

And then once I’ve actioned the TOR, the person who requested it gets an email notification of their own to let them know the status. Easy peasy!

Amanda sharing a laugh with a few members of her team.

Photo: Amanda sharing a laugh with a few members of her team.

tW: How else does Absence Management help you stay connected with your team?

AS: Beyond the “self-service” capabilities provided through ESS (which our team really appreciates), the email notifications, and the calendar of upcoming absences, another thing I rely upon is having visibility into the team’s accrued balances of vacation and sick time.

Absence Management shows managers what’s been used and what’s left, so I can give employees a heads up if they’re close to running out of sick time, or if they have vacation time left to use that they may have forgotten about (hard to imagine, but it does happen)!

I also just really appreciate the flexibility. I’ve approved TORs from my phone at the lake, waiting in line at school pick-up or the grocery store… two-factor authentication keeps it secure and ESS makes it simple.

tW: How does Absence Management compare to processes you’ve used in the past… whether as a manager or as an employee?

AS: I’ve been with Payworks for so long that I’ve never been in another role where I managed a team’s schedules! But I certainly remember what it was like to request time off in roles that didn’t have a system like this… if you wanted time off, you’d be leaving a note or calling in a request on the phone, or posting a sticky note on a bulletin board. There was a lot of room for error, with messages getting lost or forgotten about.

Absence Management lets me keep track of everything in one spot. Everything comes in together, is actioned together and it takes two minutes to do it once and do it right. Having to manage it all individually would take a lot more time and give me a lot more gray hairs!

Seeing is believing!

Curious what better Canadian workforce management looks like in action (and how much time you could reclaim in your day-to-day)? Book a pressure-free, get-to-know you demo today.