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The role of HRin managingemployee absenceA Vizual white paperVIZUAL Management Solutions LtdThe role of HR in managing employee absencea Vizual white paperThe role of HR in managing absence Approaches to absence managementAlmost four in ten employers say the recession has increased their In order for employers to manage and monitor employee absence organisations focus on reducing absence levels and costs. The there is a need for a clear absence management system. This largest gaps and subsequent cost saving opportunities are in the needs to enable organisation’s to set out the expectations in terms areas of preventing absences and addressing the risks before they of attendance and absenteeism and highlight the procedures that become more costly.should be applied in dealing with both.This is where HR can provide effective absence management and The most commonly used approach to manage shorter term promote accountability. Providing accurate records and reports can absences remains the return to work interview with a recorded illustrate trends and patterns allowing proactive managers to deal 83% of companies opting for this approach, however the use of with the early indicators of an ineffective department.electronic ‘trigger’ systems is becoming more prevalent. These systems have the ability to record and highlight various kinds of holidays, sickness and absence. Allowing you to create variations Survey results show concernand different allowance types, and record both full-day and part-Absenteeism in the workplace remains a challenge for employers, day absences. with the average cost of absence per employee rising to £692 in 2008 from £666 in 2007. Results provided by the 2009 survey by These Absence Management Systems enable companies to spot the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. trends and patterns in employee absence and discover what the underlining causes of absence are for there organisation, this in Minor illnesses are the main causes of short term absence which turn can aid in the reduction of absenteeism. impact on a business harder than longer term, more manageable absences such as stress.Counting the cost of absenteeismOnly 41% of employers asked monitor the cost of absence, and of Based on the cost of absence per employee per year.those employers that do monitor the cost the three most common types are occupational sick pay, statutory sick pay and rising cost of replacement labour.Absence can be broken down into two main types, Short term and long term. Short term absence relates to minor illnesses such as colds, ﬂ u and stomach upsets and these form the main cause of short term illness. Other forms are musculoskeletal conditions such as RSI and back pain common among manual workforces.Stress is the number one cause of Long term absence within non manual workers according to the CIPD survey. More than a quarter of employers have reported a rise in stress-related absence due mainly to long working hours and ﬁ nancial concerns.page 1References: CIPD: Absence Management Annual Survey Report 2009CBI: On The Path To Recovery: Absence and Workplace Health Survey 2010For help managing your employee absence, go to www.time-attendance.co.ukThe role of HR in managing employee absencea Vizual white paperEmployee wellbeingAbsence management is not only important to the employer but also the employees. Over recent years, awareness of health issues and the impact of lifestyle choices can have on productivity has shown a rapid increase. Employers have come to recognise the importance to business of building an actively engaged and healthy workforce, leading to investment in the wellbeing of their employees.Through the analysis of absenteeism employers are much more likely to spot patterns in an individuals working life. This can then be brought to the employees’ attention making it easier for issues to be discussed and hopefully resolved. This not only aids line managers when broaching difﬁ cult situations but also makes the employee aware that there wellbeing is important to the company and that a resolution is mutually beneﬁ cial. Counting the cost of absenteeismBased on the average days lost per employee per year.The results of the CIPD survey showed that employers believe 15% of absence is not genuine, costing the economy £2.52bn a year, they also recognise the importance of dealing with genuine absence. This is particularly true of work related absence. It is important for employers to recognise if a member of their workforce is persistently absent so that they can use the data they have to aid in identifying what the key-drivers are. An organisation’s attendance policy is designed to minimise the business costs of absence by addressing the causes, whether Helping employees work through their absence can ensure that genuine or not. While the existence of policies is one thing, what is they are happy, working productively, reduce HR admin time and important is whether they are applied in practice via methods such save the company money.as an absence management system.page 2References: CIPD: Absence Management Annual Survey Report 2009CBI: On The Path To Recovery: Absence and Workplace Health Survey 2010For help managing your employee absence, go to www.time-attendance.co.ukThe role of HR in managing employee absencea Vizual white paperRecording absence data Comprehensive reporting An effective absence management system identiﬁ es and addresses A company using an absence system can input speciﬁ c working absence causes via accurate recording and this means that casual hours, breaks, lunch periods and overtime rules making sure that absences, intermittent or patterned absences and disability are every minute of an employee’s working day is accurately recorded. managed in an integrated manner to optimise risk avoidance. When This information can then be used to create a wide variety of reports unhealthy behaviour is identiﬁ ed early, it is far more likely that the not only for the company as a whole, but also speciﬁ c departments behaviour can change.and even down to individual employees. Proactive attendance management systems are now widespread These reports can then be used to spot company trends. Around and have helped to reduce levels of absence over the past 25 years. half of employers (49%) in a recent survey said they believe there Having the ability to track company holidays and notify supervisors is a deﬁ nite or possible link between employee absence and the or line managers when more than a set amount of people are off at start or end of the week, and a similar proportion believe there is a any given time is particularly advantageous. It allows companies to deﬁ nite or possible link to summer, Christmas or school holidays. plan what there core staff should be so that if an employee requests a holiday which takes there department below this base line they By using absence management software a business can create a are notiﬁ ed immediately.report to show absence rates for speciﬁ c periods of time. A good example of this includes looking back historically and to see exactly what proportion of the workforce were off during a national event such as a sports tournament. This data can then be used to track must see matches to see whether certain individuals are speciﬁ cally taking time off during their chosen games. Authorised absences can then be seperated from the unauthorised absences.This level of functionality not only helps employees to know exactly who should be working when, but it can also be used to back up any absence related disciplinaries, with accurate calendars and reports at the touch of a button.Monitoring attendance and absence of employees accurately and Conclusionefﬁ ciently can save a company time and money. This is particularly There is no ‘quick win solution’ to managing absence, and one size true of large organisations where absence rates are proven to be does not ﬁ t all – but neither is it impossible to reduce absence nor higher. For example if you take a company who is using a manual technically difﬁ cult to ﬁ nd the right solution. method of tracking the attendance of employees the chances of those records being kept accurately are signiﬁ cantly lower than What is required is a system of initiatives, focused primarily on good those adopting an electronic absence management system. The quality leadership handling absences, linked to an absence and reasons for this could range from human error to the falsifying of performance management system.timesheets.page 3References: CIPD: Absence Management Annual Survey Report 2009CBI: On The Path To Recovery: Absence and Workplace Health Survey 2010For help managing your employee absence, go to www.time-attendance.co.uk