6 steps for better absence management

by | 23.09.2014

Poor absence management cost businesses £1,000s each year. Take the pain away in these six easy steps.

There are two major problems that present themselves when not managing absence in the best way. The first one is that any business who are not able to cite their absence rates are failing to control their risks. The second is when poor absence management is a neglect of employee welfare.

According to a study undertaken by Price Waterhouse Cooper in 2011, poor absence management costs UK businesses in excess of £30 billion each year.

The CIPD say: ‘The vast majority of organisations are actively engaged in absence management, at least to some degree. The majority have an absence management policy, record their annual employee absence rate and collect information on the causes of absence. Three-fifths are taking steps to identify and reduce stress in the workplace. In addition, most organisations provide one or more well-being benefits and the majority have initiatives to promote attendance and well-being.’

Through better absence management, you will not only be providing a better duty of care to employees, you will be reducing risk and saving on costs.

Here’s six ways to improve absence management:

1. Improve well being

Employee well-being is vital for mitigating the risk of poor absence management. A happy workforce is a productive workforce. Well-being can include everything from regular one on one meetings to creating a healthy, balanced work environment.

Putting employee well-being at the heart of your strategy is the best first step.

2. Promote attendance

In their absence management report released in January 2014, the CPID said: ‘The most common methods that private sector organisations are focusing on to encourage
employees to want to come to work are developing managers’ people management skills, promoting an open culture where people feel able to raise issues and enabling employees to understand how their job role contributes to the organisation’s performance.’

Attendance improves within organisations who focus on employee engagement.

3. Procedure & Process

Having a procedure and a process in place is fundamental as is ensuring all the relevant information is communicated by managers to employees so there is no margin for error. A clear simple, robust, consistent and fair process that allows HR and senior business leaders to manage line managers is the key to cost effective absence management.

4. Provide a work life balance

Offering employees a choice to work flexible hours that match their lifestyle, whilst meeting the needs of the business, gives employees a sense of ownership and control. Encouraging a life outside of work and putting in measure to promote this deliver healthy returns and produce employees who feel like they’ve been invested in.

5. Workforce Management Software

Invest in a workforce management solution that will measure, track and even predict absence. Using a system that is integrated with scheduling, time reporting and payroll significantly reduces the margin for error to next to nothing. It also allows you to quickly find replacements and easily manage leave applications with a click of a button.

6. Evaluate

What works in one industry doesn’t necessarily work in another. Like all areas of business absence management is an area that needs constant evaluation and evolution. Introduce return to work meetings, put in measure to reduce work related stress and find which practices work for you.

Absence management is one key area where a robust, flexible and intuitive workforce management system can deliver immediate returns on investment.

It's time to do things differently

Tommy Tonkins

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