Absenteeism is not something that is confined to a few sectors of the economy. It is one of the most persistent obstacles to productivity, profitability and competitiveness. It causes overtime, late deliveries, dissatisfied customers and a decline in employee morale amongst workers who are expected to cover for an absent employee. The indirect costs often exceed the direct costs of absenteeism.
Softworks workforce management technology has been assisting organisations to manage both planned and unplanned employee absences for over 30 years. Here are our top tips for managing absenteeism.
- Monitoring employee sickness absence records for frequency and patterns
The fundamental building block of any effective absence control programme is the availability of complete, accurate and timely information. Good records are vital to grasp the extent of the problem.
- Use of the Bradford Factor
“The Bradford Factor” points system is a formula measures the number of incidences of absence and the duration of each absence to compute an absence score, in points, for each employee. This reflects whether the overall absenteeism rate is caused by a few employees suffering from long-term ill health, or a substantial number of employees being frequently absent for relatively short spells.
- Interviewing employees upon return to work to reinforce a good attendance record
The return-to-work interview is one of the most effective ways of managing short-term absences. But a badly conducted return-to-work interview is worse than none at all so it’s important to have a clear process in place. The interview can be used to clarify the impact of individual absence on colleagues, thereby underscoring the value of that employee. This can combat the sickness culture of some organisations, where staff perceive a sickness quota and take leave accordingly.
- Strike a better work-life balance
A crisis at home that could be resolved and better dealt with if the employee can address the issue honestly with their manager. Otherwise, they may resort to taking two or three days off, feigning sickness, in order to resolve the problem without being penalised. Flexitime and annualised hours are two great ways in which organisations can help to facilitate work-life balance for their employees, while ensuring no counterproductive drop in productivity and output.
- Automate Time and Attendance Management
An automated Time and attendance system can help organisations manage absenteeism by providing them with the evidence needed to manage any issues. By the very virtue of what they do, time and attendance systems will store all details of hours worked, of all employees, and therefore all details of when they were not there, when they were late, left early or worked overtime. The reporting facilities enable organisations to produce reports, which can analyse absenteeism, by rating, frequency, reason, percentage, cost and the Bradford Factor thereby giving the company the tools to manage any problems.
- People Involvement
In managing the problem of employee absenteeism, the most important requirement is the involvement of managers with employees. The reasons why certain employees are frequently absent, or work excessive amounts of overtime can only be comprehended with ‘people involvement’. So, while a good time and attendance system is essential to provide this hard information, the only way to use it effectively, and counteract any problems is through good people management skills. This, in combination with the management information provided by an automated time and attendance system, is the way to generate the cost savings and control that all companies strive towards.
If you are interested in learning more about how Softworks Workforce Management Solutions assists organisations to manage absenteeism, contact us today and we will organise a demo at a time convenient to you.