Can HR improve the bottom line, 10 Top Tips for managing unplanned absence

  1. Get buy-in from the top of the business that they will play their part in helping to improve absence management. It is critical the board understands that managing absence is much broader than looking at one statistic such as average sick days per FTE or % of absence days.
  2. Have a robust policy which makes the every manager accountable for their team’s absence, regardless of their level within the business.
  3. Make sure managers speak to their own staff at the start of every absence. This helps to build trust, improves employee engagement and creates a proactive culture where managers and employees take responsibility and are accountable for absence.
  4. Make sure managers complete return to work interviews promptly at the end of every absence and that this process is auditable and is checked.
  5. Have clear trigger points in place to ensure interventions – be they managerial or clinical – happen as and when required. Any intervention needs to be clearly flagged and auditable.
  6. Involve clinicians only when triggers are hit. Data shows that 81% of absences are seven days or less. Clinical intervention on short-term absence is ineffective and costly.
  7. Ensuring that everyone does what they should, when they should will have the biggest impact on absence levels. Crucially it will generate data which empowers managers and employees.
  8. Implement a system which gives you real-time visibility of absences, attendance cases and compliance with policy.
  9. Capture every piece of data. The surest way to lose an absence related tribunal is to not keep 9. accurate records. These should move with employees from one role to the next and be safely stored to prevent data protection breaches and ensure it is not lost.
  10. Process is king. 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.

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