Health, Work, Well-Being and Sickness Absence Survey 2017

I was interested to see the data reported in the recent EEF report “Employee Health: making industrial strategy work for Britain”.

Despite 77% of 264 manufacturing organisations surveyed being aware of the Fit for Work Service, less than half (46%) would consider using it and nearly a quarter actively said they would not use it! For a free to use service that is quite telling!

It’s also pleasing to see that 80% of those surveyed did have access to some occupational health advice.

Despite losing an average of over 5 days a year to sickness absence (which I suspect is a low figure and may well reflect under reporting within these organisations, as it is well below the average figure our platform records accurately for our clients), the reports states that only around half of those surveyed train managers on sickness absence management (with 57% training on short term absence management and only 46% providing training on long term absence management).

Many businesses surveyed rely on the NHS to provide care and many believe that financial incentives would help businesses take up preventative health and wellbeing programmes. Over a third believe better access to practical information would help the recruitment and retention of those with disabilities or long term health issues.

Our aim at Empactis has been to reduce reliance on manager training, not because we don’t think improved line manager capability is crucial (it is!), but because we recognise that training is time consuming and not always timely to the need. Many line managers won’t need to manage an absence for many months following training and policies and practices may change over time.

We use the Empactis platform to deliver timely support to managers, providing them with the rationale and a clear understanding of the best action to take. We recognise that one of the keys to effective absence management is to make early supportive contact and we help managers to do this well. Our data is showing clearly that where this contact gets delayed or missed, more days are lost.

The EEF data suggests poor confidence in the national infrastructure to support sick employees, I share some of that mistrust as delays do contribute to simple absences becoming long term issues. Line managers are well placed to offer support to their staff and technology now gives us opportunity to help them do this more reliably and successfully.