Monitoring staff absence within the workplace is often cited as the number one headache for HR professionals across the UK. With much confusion around the legal entitlement rights for different types of leave, unintentionally discriminating against certain groups or individual circumstances is frequently a very real fear for many.
XpertHR’s annual absence survey for 2016 has continued to show that of the number of sickness days per employee per year has been in consistent freefall since 2006, with the average standing at 6.3 days of absence per employee. Whether the continuation of this trend has its roots in the last recession, and any resulting job insecurities, or is simply indicative of improving absence management practices across the business world, countless studies have shown that employment is generally good for both physical and mental health.
Essentially, keeping people at work can help to maintain an employee’s health and well-being, as well as improving organisational effectiveness.
However, the question on the lips of many HR professionals is: how do we achieve this?
One of the best ways to effectively track and manage absence across your business is to implement a step-by-step plan to ensure all identifiable aspects are covered. Legal employment experts Marie Walsh, Director at Consilia Legal, and Ceri Widdett, Barrister at Exchange Chambers, suggest the following six steps to ensure you remain both compliant with current legislation, and able to judge individual absence situations fairly:
Consider your current absence policy, and how well received it is within your business:
It is vital that all managers within your organisation are given sufficient absence management training, including:
Making sure you properly record all incidents of absence will help you to identify both trends and risks within your business. Keep in mind that there are some general absence patterns which may apply, including:
Communication is key to helping employees back to work, especially in instances of long-term sickness. Consider:
Remain aware that different processes and forms of action may be applicable depending on the type of absence. These can include:
Once an employee has returned from a period of absence, it is important to provide them with continuing support, including:
Many employers believe they can drastically reduce costs by tackling absence, and by measuring and managing your business’s levels in this way, you will not only uncover the most common reasons for absence, but will also devise plans on how best to reduce it.
Purchasing modern, intuitive, cloud-based technology could go a long way towards achieving your absenteeism goals. Our HR and payroll software, for example, has long supported clients looking to improve on absences, empowering them to analyse patterns and manage employees individually, ensuring that staff retention and bottom line performance don’t just remain constant – they improve.
If you’re considering investing in flexible, configurable, cloud-based HR and payroll software, why not book a demo with us?