Action required regarding your absence functionality

As a valued client of Sage People, you may have seen the email that was sent on the 14th October confirming again that they will be deprecating the old Absence process.

Clients are urged to take immediate action to have the Time Off process enabled once the Winter ‘22 release is installed. For clarity we’ve added the deprecation timeline below. More information in this regard, can be found on the Sage People community article on Migrating from Absence to Time Off.

The Sage People Time Off process was created to replace the legacy Absence functionality, enhancing and improving their offering surrounding vacation and absence calculations. There are several new features that have been released requiring utilisation of Time Off that will benefit you as a client.

New Time Off features

  • Work schedules: enable you to define and allocate set working times for your Team Members. Useful to show shift patterns for example.
  • Enhanced accrual balances and accrual log: additional reportable fields on the absence balance object.
  • Partial days: view of half days in the WX calendar.
  • Outlook calendar files:  ability to add absence/vacation requests into calendars.

Sage People Deprecation Timeline

  • Effective Immediately – All clients should begin the transition to Time Off if not already using the new functionality. You may find it easiest to migrate at your plans’ reset date(s), although this is not a requirement. Sage People Support Team will continue to accept support cases related to the Absence process as will Tugela’s Managed Services team.
  • Winter ’22 release (est. Oct/Nov 2021): With this release the Time Off process will be switched on by default and all clients should be transitioned. The Absence Process will still exist within the HCM package but will no longer be supported by the Sage People Support Teams.
  • Spring ’22 release: The Time Off process cannot be deactivated, and the Absence code will be deprecated entirely.

Help is at hand

If you require additional information about this notification or require support in effecting any of these changes, our Managed Services team will be happy to assist you. Contact us now or email us directly at:

Enhancing employee communications with Sage People

Keeping in Touch During Covid Times

With the ongoing pandemic and restrictions imposed, keeping abreast of the impact in the workplace is critical. From the work that we undertake with our clients, we are finding there are a few key groups that need improved communications more than most. Those returning from furlough and resuming a ‘normal working environment’ in addition to an increasingly remote workforce, need to take additional measures to ensure effective communication with their teams.

Action Events

Remember, Sage People by default includes “team members home” as a contact method for action events, so you don’t need to go reinventing the wheel to contact people who are furloughed. Regular communications that they might need to be kept up to date with can be sent to their home email address.


Just as with Action Events, you can use workflows to email team members using their home email addresses This can be especially useful to notify people of changes they might encounter as they return to the workplace or vital communications that they may have otherwise missed while furloughed.

HR Noticeboards

These are a great tool to help you spread messages to your teams via WX. If your business is returning to life in the office and you need to ensure new measures are being met, share those measures with your teams through an HR noticeboard. Top tip: incorporate distinctive imagery into your HR Noticeboards to make sure they stand out and grab the required attention from your people.

Internal Communications

This type of WX process will allow you to share information with your teams via WX as well as enabling you to gather confirmation of receipt and report on it. If you need to share important information about returning to the office, including measures to protect your employees’ health, consider using a confirmation option to ensure your teams have read the communication. You can also activate your daily digest to trigger an out of the box email reminder to colleagues to review their communication actions.

Pulse Surveys

With Pulse Surveys, Business leaders will be able to gauge on a regular basis how staff feel about certain topics. It’s best practice to regularly source feedback on the same measures to determine if the initiatives that have been put in place are having the desired effect (i.e. that progress is being made to address any concerns areas). Pulse Surveys in Sage People are straight forward to set up and easy to access by staff via the employee self-service portal (known as the WX). And because of the powerful reporting module, Sage People enables HR to report on the results in real-time, draft trend reports and to add the results to HR Dashboards that are typically shared with business leaders.

If you have not used this functionality for a while and would like a reminder, feel free to get in touch with us, to discuss training options that might assist you in creating effective communication strategies during this challenging time.

Sage People – Useful new features

There has been an incredible amount of development of Sage People this year, which no doubt you will have been made aware of via different communications, as they have been implemented. However, we wanted to highlight a few new features that have been recently added:

Objectives and Conversations

The new Objectives and Conversations features are fantastic, and a great improvement to the product at just the right time. Enhanced communication through the performance review process can really assist managers and team members who are still adapting to working remotely.

More information on Performance and Talent Management can be found on the Sage People website

Compensation Planning

This year has also seen the roll out of Salary and Bonus planning improvements. These out of the box features allow for compensation planning to be delivered by HR to managers to feed up their teams’ plans. As many plans as a customer might want can now be delivered at any time using their own projection formulas, exclusions and eligibility rules.

You can find out more about employee recognition and compensation management on the Sage People website

Half Day Absences

I’m not sure I speak for all the Tugela People team on this one, but I am sure I’m not alone in just how excited I got over this next feature!

You can now show absences in a calendar as part days.

More information about attendance and leave management can be found on the Sage People website


Sage People have also been working on a suite of API’s that are being rolled out as they become available. Currently you can build API’s for Employees, Salaries, Bonuses, Absences and Absence Balances, and now Timesheets. These come with increased security and controls over the usual Salesforce Rest API’s and should take less time to set up. More information on this can be found on the Sage Develop site

Lightning Email template Links

Finally, a little bit of housekeeping. If you’ve made the switch or are about to change over to lightning, you might find that your links from Action Events to the corresponding email templates don’t work anymore. Your URL for lightning will be slightly different. You can update the link in the Action Event object by updating the formula on the Email Template Link field.

For more information about new features, help in setting them up or to find out how we can keep your system up to date with ongoing product enhancements with our Managed Services offering, click here to get in touch.

A successful apprenticeship

August 2020 marked the end of a fantastic milestone for Tugela People, and specifically for Zoe Van Lokven, a member of the Managed Services team.

In December 2018 Tugela People had the opportunity to support a client post-implementation with their Sage People system, which is where the Managed Services journey began. Throughout 2019 we found there was an increasing demand for Managed Services and the function experienced a period of growth.

It had always been an aspiration of the company to contribute in a demonstrable way to the local economy. This presented us with an excellent opportunity to reach out to local talent and help boost youth employment in the area.

In February 2019, Zoe decided to take the plunge and try something new in her career after working in a retail role for 10 years. Zoe applied and was successfully awarded the role of HRIS Business Analyst at Tugela People. She embarked on her journey via MK College studying Business Administration, which she has recently completed with distinction.

Our aim was to break the notion that apprentices make the tea and file papers and Zoe rose to the challenge. In her 18 months with us, she has:

  • Become the first line support for 10+ clients, helping them with their Sage People queries, troubleshooting, enhancements, coaching and ongoing support.
  • Developed a feedback process to support quarterly client calls.
  • Started to lead on Managed Services kick off calls.
  • Supported internal colleagues with their Sage People queries.
  • Been empowered to make decisions and genuinely feel that her opinion is valued.

We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that an apprentice has had, not only to the long-term goals of the business but in building a successful career. For us this is not just an apprenticeship, it’s the opportunity to support entry-level talent into the industry and the opportunity to shape Tugela People’s future workforce through apprenticeships.

Zoe has subsequently been offered and accepted a full-time role as a HRIS Business Analyst for Tugela People, continuing to work as part of the Managed Services team.

A big congratulations to Zoe. The Tugela team wish you continued success in your role.

To learn more about our Managed Services click here

Managed Services now offer temporary Sage People HR System Admin support

Tugela People’s Managed Services are proud to be able offer temporary Sage People HR System admin support, whether that’s covering for periods of annual leave, training, or even longer-term absences such as parental leave.

Whatever the requirement, at a time where you may be lacking the necessary people resources, you can be confident that your Sage People system is in good hands.

As part of this service we can:

  • Become the first point of contact for HR teams with regards to system queries
  • Help support end users with their questions
  • Monitor any internal mailboxes or use our own ticketing system to monitor cases

head of Managed Services Sage People

The Tugela People Managed Services team is headed up by Jamie Wilkins, our Principal Managed Service Consultant, who has a degree in Business and Human Resource Management, with over 10 years’ experience in the HR industry. Jamie is responsible for offering technical solutions and comprehensive HR support through our flexible managed services function, as well as leading the implementation support for our internal HRIS Consultants.

WaterAid company logo

Further to providing HR System admin cover to WaterAid for a period of three week, we received the following feedback from Elodie Coulot, International People Officer at WaterAid following HRIS:

“I would like to highlight that Jamie has been a real asset for the team, even though he had only been with us few weeks as system administrator cover.

Jamie monitored our HRIS support mailbox daily for a period of three weeks, and he had demonstrated to be very patient, proactive, very quick to respond and knowledgeable on every single occasion we needed his expertise. Jamie was very proactive to find the solution and explored different ways of finding the answer.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Jamie and the Tugela team, and I had full confidence that our system was in very capable hands.”

To find out more or engage our services, email or click here

Managing the challenge of absence in Sage People

It might feel like this year is slipping away, and many people won’t want to hear this, but the end of 2020 is rapidly approaching. By the time you’re reading this, there will be less than 90 days until Christmas!

With this in mind it’s worth thinking proactively. The usual checklist  (check out our Handy 2020 Sage People Checklist that we previously posted) and end of year activities will obviously need to take place (we’ll talk more about this in future communications), but this year, managing absence has proven to be a unique challenge that we see many of our customers continuing to struggle with.

We often field questions from our customers around absence rules. In particular what to do when someone needs to carry over more leave than their policies would normally allow. This year, due to the travel restrictions and safety concerns as result of the pandemic, employees have been taking far fewer holidays. This comes with certain challenges. Below are some of the thoughts and approaches from a few of the businesses we’ve supported:

“I want to ensure people are taking their allowances”

Part of being a responsible employer is making sure that your employees take their well-deserved and allocated time off. With so many people working remotely and there being little incentive for taking holidays, many businesses have found that their people haven’t been taking that much needed time off. Help is on hand – reports and dashboards can be a fantastic tool to help you keep an eye on those colleagues that may have excess holiday to use up in these final few months of the year.

In particular, take advantage of some of the great functionality that’s readily available within Sage People. Absence balances are refreshed daily on the employee’s employment record. You can add this to a report and by using a summary report, you can include formulas to show holidays remaining per month. Complement this by incorporating formatting onto a dashboard (for example, if a colleague has more than 5 days per month remaining, highlight these records in red to show that action might be needed). If you want to communicate this out to managers, consider WX reports to highlight these days remaining.

I don’t want everyone taking their holidays at once”

A side effect of people not taking their holidays during lockdown is that they’ve started to build up. While many businesses asked colleagues to take a minimum number of days per month at the height of the pandemic (often 2 days per month), not everyone did. Now that people are fast approaching the end of the year and need to take days or risk losing them, there’s a worry that too many people will start taking time off and productivity will slow down. In Sage People, we find that the team calendar view is great for combatting this. By putting a guide or reminder of the functionality into an HR Noticeboard, it is a great way of prompting managers to review their teams capacity.

“We just can’t accommodate the number of holidays remaining”

It might be too late for the number of days remaining to be taken before the end of the year in a viable manner. Luckily Sage People absence accrual patterns are flexible and robust enough to tackle this in a few short steps. Also absence accruals are constantly calculated, so you don’t need to load changes to people’s patterns. Consider adding to your number of carry over days, rather than allowing 5 days to be carried over, increase it to 10. If you don’t want all 10 additional days being taken next year, you can even extend the carry over months so that they can be taken over the next couple of years. All of this can be applied in a matter of minutes.

If you’d like to know more about how you can set up any features mentioned in this article to support your team through the unique challenges this year has thrown up, click here now to get in touch with us.

Sage People HR System enhancement: Maximising usage and increasing ROI

In Sage People, HR requests are commonly initiated via the WX or the HR admin portal and are used to make changes to team member data in Team Member, Employment, Salary and Bonus objects.

A client of ours runs an online business with 100’s of work locations across mainland Europe. Due to the unique nature of their business, they needed a simple but effective solution for promotions, job changes & organisational data changes, whilst being simultaneously compliant to company policies, GDPR Regulations, and data quality.

Tugela People Managed Services were asked to work alongside the client and provide a new and improved personalised process, which would have a huge impact on our client’s daily operation, with the following objectives:

  • Save time and effort for the HR admins submitting HR Requests
  • Allow managers to concentrate their time and knowledge on their day to day operations
  • Allowed accurate data to feed into other systems via an integration
  • Give management confidence in Sage People and the data
  • Maintain compliance level

We proposed a solution to enhance HR requests that included:

  • Capturing all fields from team member and employment record as part of HR Requests
  • Transforming text fields into picklists for data accuracy and consistency
  • Creating field dependencies to save time and avoid human errors
  • Tracking all future and past changes through an enhanced job history setup
  • Customising validation rules and supporting workflows to automate other field updates, send emails and trigger other processes
  • Implementing a custom approval process that allowed for simple administration
  • A thorough review of fields usage and a chance to tidy up objects and layouts
  • Removal of the object edit buttons to force changes via HR Requests

The key challenges

1. Communication to internal stakeholders:

Our international team provided workforce training in 2 different languages as the client is spread across 6 different countries

2. Resistance to change and new concepts by some end users

To address this, we:

  • Provided extensive support during UAT including creating UAT scripts
  • Delivered formal and informal training to end users
  • Offered continued support via our Managed Services function

The resulting reward:

  • Great feedback from all stakeholders (from admins though to the leadership team).
  • Sage People technology has proved to allow the HR Request process to be customized to the organisation’s needs providing accuracy of data quality.
  • Delivery of high-quality reports that drives business decisions.
  • A happy customer that will look to us for future enhancements

Tugela People’s Managed Services helps clients create or build on existing functionality. Let us help you. Click here for more information and to get in touch.

Our Professional Services team has expanded

With growing demand for our implementation, project management and training services, we have expanded our team. We are pleased to be able to confirm the following appointments:

Dawn Whitehead – Professional Services Manager

Dawn Whitehead - Tugela People Professional Services Manager - Read more:

Dawn joined the team at the end of June as our Professional Services Manager, and is responsible for the implementation team that cover all our solution offerings. These currently include Sage People, Moorepay and e-learning Services (TalentLMS, efront and talentcards).

In her role, Dawn leads the Implementation Consultants, Project Managers, Trainers and Associates; overseeing pre- & post-sales service activities including scoping, implementation, quality assurance, User Acceptance Testing, customisation, integrations, ongoing support (account management), client engagement and training.

Dawn is also responsible for driving service quality, promoting the range of services we offer globally and managing our key supplier relationships.

Her significant industry experience, having work for Sage for over 7 years as a trainer, project manager and as a professional services manager stands her in good stead. Most recently Dawn has worked at Unit 4 for just under two years managing a large team of HR and Finance consultants.

Kevin Hume – Senior HRIS Consultant

Kevin Hulme - Tugela People,  Senior HRIS Consultant- Read more:

Kevin re-joined Tugela People at the beginning of September, as a Senior HRIS Consultant.

Kevin is a familiar face to all that have partnered with us over the years, having previously headed up our Professional Services team. After a few months away from Tugela People, we are very pleased to be able to welcome Kevin back to the team.

Having spent the last 16 years working with HR and Payroll software as a customer, project manager, product manager, and in professional services, Kevin has returned to an implementation consultant role. With 3 years’ experience of Sage People implementations, Kevin is expecting to hit the ground running.

Sabrina Millard – Account Manager

Sabrina Millard – Tugela People Account Manager. Read More:

Sabrina joined Tugela People in mid-October as our Professional Services Account Manager, being our first contact with prospective clients and the main point of contact for our current customers.

Sabrina brings with her over fifteen years’ experience specialising in Payroll and HR. Sabrina’s expertise includes: system implementations, budget negotiations, project management and building strong client relationships. In her last role at Sage People, Sabrina was responsible for understanding prospective clients needs and drafting suitable implementations proposals that meet their needs and budgets.

We are delighted to welcome Sabrina to the team.

If you would like to know more about the services we offer for implementation, project management and training for Sage People, click here

What’s new from Sage People?

The Winter ‘21 release

This includes a seamless and slicker workflow framework for making employee changes, an extension to  the features of the employee self-serve portal with the opportunity for additional employer branding for better employee engagement, in addition to lots of improved functionality for better user and employee experiences across the entire end-to-end solution.

What’s New?

General Availability

  • People management workflow – employee changes:  A new framework for people management workflow, provides a guided, seamless and slicker process for managers to make employee changes as needed. ​
  • Enhanced summary process: A more engaging and interactive user experience when consuming key organisational information via employee self-service (WX) as well as user-friendly configuration templates. ​
  • WX UI improvements: These have been made to the accessibility, usability, and look of the employee self-service portal (also known as workforce experience (WX)).


  • Time API: Ensuring 3rd parties can safely and sustainably consume data about timesheets submitted in Sage People​.

Early adopter programs​

  • New time-off UX: Easily and confidently request time-off, with a clear picture of leave entitlement in just a few clicks​​.
  • New mobile app: By taking full advantage of your mobile features such as face and fingerprint ID, font and display size adjustment, call features, and push notifications, you can carry out faster HR and People processes, resulting in far superior experiences for all your employees. ​​
  • Enhanced objectives: This new way of tracking objectives supports employees and managers that respond to change by setting individual and team goals that are flexible, aligned and achieved in incremental steps. ​

Sage people are holding a Sage People Winter ’21 Release Webinar on October the 20th from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM BST. . You can register for this by clicking here

Tugela People are here to help

If you require more details about any of the information contained in this release, or would simply like to run something by us, we’re here to help.

Click here to contact us or you can email us directly at, and we’ll respond to your specific query, arrange a phone call, or a Microsoft Teams screen share.

We pride ourselves in helping our customers to maximise their investment in Sage People