The essential ingredients for better absence management

by | 01.06.2016

Absenteeism and sick leave affect businesses throughout Europe leaving many companies counting the cost of poor absence management year after year.

In the UK, the problem is growing, with the estimated cost of absence now exceeding £30 billion. On average, workers in the UK have 9 days off a year due to sickness, more than four times the average for many of the UK’s global counterparts.

The study, carried out by PriceWaterhousecoopers in 2013, also found the public sector, retail and leisure to be the industries with the highest absence rates. Workers in these industries cite the volume of work, management styles and unrealistic expectations as the main reasons why they suffer from stress, burnout or a lack of engagement. When these factors combine, they form the perfect storm for soaring levels of absenteeism prompting many companies to take decisive and drastic action to buck the trend.

Absence management naturally falls under the remit of HR and that’s why many HR teams are now leading the way as advocates in everything from investing in employee health and wellbeing to creating an honest, open and transparent culture.


With the following essential ingredients, it becomes much easier to not only manage absence more effectively, but also reduce levels of absenteeism.


1. Create a place where people want to be

It sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet so many businesses fail on this most important aspect of all. Every business, no matter the industry, should put measures in place so employees can enjoy work. Whether it’s through individual empowerment or inspiring them through ambitious aspirations, employees who enjoy their jobs and who like being at work will perform better and will be absent less.

2. Look after their health

Businesses can cut the cost of absenteeism by investing in their employees’ health and wellbeing. This isn’t just an after-work yoga class or discounted gym membership, it’s setting the tone by promoting good nutrition, improved mindfulness and even ensuring employees sleep well. Investing in employees’ health not only reduce the risk of them becoming sick, it also helps them be more productive.

3. Reduce work-associated stress

It’s naive to think stress can be eliminated from the workplace but working to reduce stress and minimise its impact should be a goal shared by all companies. Great communication, empathy towards employees and clear goals will all help employees deal more effectively with stress and reduce the number of days lost each year due to stress.

4. Manage absence with better technology

Our customers use Quinyx to manage their absenteeism. From being able to see absence reports ‘at-a-glance’ to quickly being able to fill shifts left open by an unforeseen absence, Quinyx helps managers by saving them time and minimising the risk of errors. It 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.

A small change can make a big difference. If your company suffers from high rates of absenteeism then identify the main reason this is happening and work to remedy it. The effect will have a profound and lasting impact on your business.



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Tommy Tonkins

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