Your employees are going to be ill from time to time and loss of work hours through sickness absence is inevitable.
Sickness absence can be disruptive and costly. Unless we find some magic cure for illness we will always have to deal with sickness absence.
Can sickness absence be avoided? Yes, some absence can be avoided.
Managers who create a positive work climate, support team members, listen to team members and give team members a say in the way they do their jobs can help avoid some instances of stress, fatigue and low morale, resulting in reducing some absenteeism. And managers who support people during sickness absent may encourage and facilitate people back to work earlier.
According HSE “The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers.”
Absence relating to stress can be avoided through good people management and good support systems.
Other illnesses could also be avoided by putting effective measures in place such as improving working conditions, safety, hygiene, comfort, seating, support etc … and …
When employees do take ill … following procedures, offering support and keeping contact can often assist an earlier return to work.
According to ACAS “There are some legal issues to take into account, but making sure your staff are well, happy and working effectively is largely a matter of doing the right thing and using common sense.”
So how do we help managers to reduce absenteeism?
Adopt a manager
When we deliver attendance management training we often use the "Adopt a manager" approach.
This is designed to help HR professionals at all levels support their managers and reduce absenteeism caused through sickness.
We have found that there are some managers who can really make a difference if they have the right support. Simply put it’s about constant contact, chatting, encouraging managers to ask questions especially before key return to work interviews. It’s a great development opportunity if you encourage new and junior HR staff to adopt a manager and work with that manager to reduce absence in the manager’s department. Everyone wins. The manager can see improved productivity because of reduced absenteeism, the HR person keeps learning and the company sees reduction in absenteeism. And that’s not to mention the effect on morale.
So how do you support your adopted manager? Just think about the key areas of managing attendance and discuss these with the manager. Review return to work interviews, identify any skills required by the manager and source appropriate help. It works – give it a go.
- What are the key learning topics to consider?
- Good people management
- Return to work interviews – How to conduct and document
- Contact at all stages
- Procedure including Occupational Health support
- Review meetings – How to conduct and document
- Appeal Hearings
- Skills of conducting difficult conversations
When I get better I’ll adopt a manager!!!!
Can we help?