Monitoring and preventing employee abscence

With the annual cost of sickness absence rising to £31.1 billion per year, new reports show HR professionals value real-time absence reporting. 

A recent report, ‘Workforce Management Trends and Challenges among UK Employers’ found that 47% of respondents indicated that they would prioritise the ability to track employee absences in real time when evaluating a workforce management (WFM) system.

Technologies that maintain full historical records for each employee including sickness rates make it straight forward to generate reports and statistics.

Furthermore, specialist technologies that enable employees to make working time adjustments and book time off as their own situation changes day by day are a useful tool. 

Such technologies reduce admin time while empowering employees to make changes to the shifts they work. This can prevent employees from feeling that ‘pulling a sickie’ is their only option when requiring time off work at short notice.

Tackling employee absence levels creates opportunities for cost savings, improving productivity and improving employee engagement. Here are some top tips for helping monitor and reduce absence levels in your organisation:

Reduce your overtime levels:

Long working hours can cause soaring stress levels and fatigue leading to employee burnout and high sickness rates. 

Reduce your reliance on overtime through understanding volume and demand profiles and planning working time more accurately. 

Create working patterns that meet the required business demand, but also the aspirations of your employees to improve their work/life balance.

Provide incentives for high attendance levels:

Rewarding bonuses to employees who do not take any sick days within a given time period shows you are committed to and continually monitoring attendance levels.

And here are some proven examples:

When working with organisations across a range of sectors we often find that changing employees’ working patterns leads to reduced sickness levels.

Prior to embarking on a working time change program, Colman’s of Norwich was over-reliant on overtime from its employees.

 This led to long working hours and consequently high sickness levels. Colman’s introduced contracts that stated the hours to be worked over a year instead of each week and built ‘reserve hours’ into their annual contract to ensure that contingencies of demand or labour supply could be dealt with and efficient working was incentivised. 

As a result employees were motivated and took pride in their work, employee absence was halved and manufacturing efficiency rose by more than a third.

When working with PPG Architectural Coatings EMEA we assisted in creating low, mid and high season rotas to ensure demand was met throughout the year. 

This removed the requirement for overtime and enabled employees to enjoy a better work/life balance with increased leisure time and rest periods. The benefits achieved through changing their working patterns were significant. 

Overtime costs fell from £750k to £0 and sickness absence fell from 11% to just 1.84%.

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