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5 Signs It’s Time to Switch Your District’s Absence Management System

June 13, 2023   •   Insights

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Is your district saddled with an unwieldy, cumbersome K–12 absence management system that isn’t meeting your needs?

Deal-breakers such as frequent technical glitches, unreliable customer service, and “surprise” fees usually throw up some can’t-miss warning signs. But even without these obvious flaws, your system may be doing technology’s version of “quiet quitting”—literally doing the bare minimum, with no attempt to improve or deliver features that would make everyone’s lives easier.

Think of it like having a lackluster employee who has been in the district “forever,” refuses to grow professionally, and teaches the same rote lessons without a hint of enthusiasm. Not a great experience for the students! If your absence management system is putting these catatonic expressions on the faces of your office staff, HR managers, payroll administrators, and everyone else within a 10-mile radius, it’s time to consider a switch.

Here are five signs that your absence management system needs to be retired and replaced:

  1. A “My Way or the Highway” Attitude. A “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work in education, and it surely shouldn’t work for software, either. Does your absence management system allow you to customize it based on your district’s needs? Can you categorize absences based on type of absence (e.g., sick day, bereavement, personal day, professional development) and employee title? Can you quickly swap shifts and move multiple assignments around? If your system doesn’t feel as if it was designed with your needs in mind (or worse, any school district’s needs), you’re going to wind up perpetually frustrated. Look for a flexible system, as did Laura Neal, Human Resources Coordinator for the Manchester Community School District (MI): “We are a small district and many faculty and staff members wear multiple hats and often work at more than one of our school sites. We absolutely needed the flexibility to change schedules, split days, and in some cases, split accounts to accommodate the way we assign staff and place our substitutes.”

  2. Doesn’t Play Well With Others. Some clunky absence management systems don’t integrate with other key systems that you have in place, such as those for payroll and HR. This can cause unnecessary administrative burdens, essentially forcing staff to engage in wasteful busy work. Systems that don’t talk to each other have to be cross-referenced and double-checked, and data can get lost in translation. Look for a K–12 absence management system that has a robust network of partners (such as staffing and recruitment companies) and multiple integrations with common applications (such as those used for payroll and school finance management). Systems that work in harmony will save everyone time and eliminate angst.

  3. Is a Poor Listener. Imagine that you have a great idea to improve the functionality of your absence management system. In fact, other district leaders in other parts of the country also have great ideas. Wouldn’t you want your voice to be heard? Wouldn’t you want to hear what others have to say? If your software doesn’t offer a forum in which you can grow your collective knowledge, freely share ideas, and offer feedback to generate positive improvements, it’s like having a professional development workshop with a locked door and empty seats. This is true for any form of educational technology! Look for a solution that includes a vibrant community feature. (And if customer service doesn’t seem to want to listen to you, it’s definitely time to break up.)

  4. Nobody Likes it. If teachers, substitutes, and administrators consistently struggle to use the absence management system because it's difficult to navigate or lacks important features, it may be time to switch. Do you constantly get complaints and questions, especially ones that you can’t answer? Do you find that you get a headache every time you log into the system because no one bothered to consider intuitive navigation or accessible color contrast? Also, any new software should provide adequate training—but that training should be efficient and easy to digest. Look for an absence management system that can get you up and running within about two weeks.

  5. It’s Frequently “Absent.” If the absence management system is only accessible from certain devices or locations, it can create barriers to use and limit its effectiveness. Does it provide a free mobile app so that employees can log absence requests from home, administrators can respond, and substitutes can be contacted and assigned? Can employees who are entering and exiting a school facility quickly and easily log in and out? Does it have accommodations for district employees who work off-site or are in multiple locations throughout the school day, such as bus drivers? You need your software to be present and available at all times and in all places…so it can help you manage and cover for those who may not be!

Finally, the simplest question to ask of your absence management software may be, “Does this make my life harder or easier?” Take a good look at what you currently have in place, and the answer will likely be obvious.

Get a Demo

Don’t let your district employees suffer with an outdated absence management system. Put a smile on their faces and a spring in their step: Come on over to Red Rover! Contact us for a demo.

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