The Absence Headache
The glitz and glamour of all the Christmas and New Year festivities are now over and summer is a long way away – have you counted the cost of the festive cheer?
For many employers, January is a hard month to get through and absenteeism has a direct impact on your bottom line.
Have you reviewed who didn’t turn up on Christmas Eve or any of the due days over the Christmas period or on when you re-opened on 5 January and why they didn’t and also what impact this unreliability had on your business?
Current research by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) showed that on average an employee takes off 8 days a year and absence costs £666 per employee.
The cost of absence can be felt in different ways. For example, it can affect everything from quality of customer service to the speed of product development – issues that may have a negative impact on your sales figures. If also affects employee morale as those in work shoulder the burden of their colleagues days off.
A CBI/AXA Absence Survey in 2008 showed that 1 in 10 absences are not genuine and 60% of employees have said that they fake sickness to extend a holiday.
Everyone agrees that sick people need time off work, but as an employer you need to deal with two serious and expensive challenges – bogus sick days and helping employees on long-term illness return to work when they are fit to do so.
1 day sickies are the most common and if left unmanaged this can lead to an increase across your business and employees are more inclined to try it for themselves as they see their colleagues ‘getting away with it’.
Many employers believe that GPs don’t help reduce sickness absences by handing out sick notes in an arbitrary way. The Government is looking into GPs being more responsible for managing this to help employers but in the meantime, you need to manage sickness.
Therefore, you have to ensure that you measure and monitor absence properly and not in a haphazard way. This means proper processes to collect and manage the data, either paper based, on excel spreadsheets or by a HR database including ensuring that that there is a laid down procedure for employees ringing in sick and avoiding email or text messages.
It is hard to put a halt to or tackle absence as there is no data to rely on, also you could be paying employees for more days off than they are entitled to.
When employees know that their absence is being captured and scrutinised or can see their details of their absences the level of absence tends to decline as a matter of course.
By generating data analysis becomes possible that can help identify trends, such a individual, departmental or company absence rates and allow you to find underlying issues, which may include a matter that is affecting team morale.
By tackling this headache you could reduce absence, improve moral and reduce employee turnover and of course your costs.