Absence Management Tips: Reducing Absenteeism via Engagement

It has been reported that sickness absence costs UK employers approximately £29 billion per year and with the pressure placed on our overworked NHS the onus is increasingly being placed upon employers to take action regarding employee health and wellbeing.

Of course, the first step in tackling the issue is recognising the problem and for many businesses still struggling with old paper forms and spreadsheets, the notion of absence management starts with absence recognition – absence management expert Adrian Lewis of Activ Absence says: “when we initially speak to customers, they often say they ‘don’t have a problem with absence’ because nobody in the business is tracking it, then they start to look a little closer, realise what is actually happening and how out of control the situation is and call us with an urgent request to ‘get something in as soon as possible!  We then usually see a fast reduction in absence of 20-30%, which brings massive cost benefits – however, when tackled in conjunction with policy reviews, wellness plans, benefits packages and improved engagement, this can be reduced even further.”

Tackling HR issues often requires assistance from more than one source.   One clever and effective strategy in the ‘absentee problem’  is to engage your employees via benefits that offer a win/win for both employer and employee.  Here are some suggestions that benefits experts Wider Plan have found the most effective for tackling sickness absence:

1. Support employee’s health and wellbeing goals

Employee assistance programmes (EAPs) are a great way for employers to proactively manage absence. Employees can receive confidential advice and guidance, helping to prevent issues developing and impacting staff attendance.

Furthermore, employee health portals enable employees to take charge of their own welfare, allowing them to set goals such as weight loss, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake. The employee is able to track their progress, promoting ongoing participation and engagement. Cycle-to-work schemes are also a great way to encourage employee fitness whilst also giving you employer’s National Insurance savings. Cycle-to-work schemes give your green credentials a boost too!

2. Create a rewards culture

Employers who recognise performance and reward achievement generally create a culture of employee engagement.

Employees who feel valued and motivated are more inclined to go the extra mile.  Furthermore, a recent study by the Corporate Leadership Council reported that engaged companies grow profits as much as three times faster than their unengaged counterparts.

The beauty of the strategy is that rewards schemes don’t have to be financial – letting employees come in late, leave early or just simply saying ‘thank you’ can be enough.

The right reward scheme that engages, motivates and encourages employees is not just good for team morale; it’s also good for your bottom line.

3. Address issues surrounding work/life balance

Stress is one of the leading causes for sickness absence in the UK, with the HSE estimating that the total number of working days lost to stress last year was approximately 11.3 million, around 23 days per case.   Utilising annual leave purchasing schemes, such as HolidayFlex, allows you to compliment any flexible working policies whilst also maintaining control over when employees can take holiday and how much extra they can order.   Allowing your employees to purchase additional days of annual leave not only saves you money on your salary bill, it allows your employees time to de-stress away from the office.

Both Wider Plan and Activ Absence offer a free consultation to businesses keen to learn more about tackling absenteeism and whilst the two are separate businesses, their message is the same – tackling absence is good for your business, good for your staff and above all good for your bottom line!

Author: Editorial Team

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