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Absence management refers to all the measures involved in reducing absenteeism. Every organisation needs to be focused on creating a culture where attendance is very important. This should be emphasized by emphasizing good health and well-being. All employees need to feel that the company cares about them. While this is being done, everyone from the highest to the lowest rank should deeply understand their duties during their attendance span. Leading by example is usually the best way to make sure it is sustained all through the organisation. The following paper discusses the need and best approach to absence management.
The first step of understanding the relevance of attendance management is to categorize the reasons or types of absenteeism. A survey on management indicated that minor illnesses accounted for most of the cases, while non- genuine excuses were also a concern (CIPD, 2015). Planned absence is the first kind. This is authorized by the company or rather the kind of abscessed that is scheduled. These are provided in work contracts and are known beforehand to both the employer and employee. Examples of such days are annual leave, maternity leave, religious days, holidays, sabbaticals, and training days. The second kind is the unplanned absence. This is any time a worker does not show up at work as provided by their contract or as earlier required. Authorized and unauthorized absence can also be defined as either long or short term. Short term absence can be things such as school holidays or urgent leave. Long term absence takes longer such as injuries, psychiatric leaves, and disability.
Importance of proactive attendance management
Reduce delayed production and poor quality
This can be perceived as having a lesser capacity to complete the same workload without prior preparation. It is estimated that in 2011, 22.4 million of the 131m total absent days were accounted for minor illnesses (Comer, 2017). Since absence especially due to sicknesses such as flu cannot be avoided in an annual span, it is important to know what to do in case it happens (Maclean, 2008). Otherwise, the impact on production is immense. This is because the organisation will either try to force those left to maintain the same delivery times or cancel some due to the inability to meet them.
It is mainly the company’s responsibility to keep workers motivated from an internal perspective. If no policies are put beforehand to deal with the gaps left, the burden has left the others abruptly. Overworking to complete deadlines at lesser capacity does not do justice to them. Therefore, those left to work may feel misused thus feeling negative. Regardless of whether dealing with it proactively may lead to some cost, it saves a lot more in sectors such as time and productivity.
Manage extra staffing costs
In 2011, a median cost of £446 was accumulated on one employee due to absence (CICD, 2013). Once a company has been bombarded with empty slots in short notice, the go-to way to prevent an effect on morale, production, and quality is to fill them right away. A study by Gallup- Healthways Well-being Index revealed that absenteeism accumulated 2650 dollars annually for a permanent worker (Skopec et al., 2014). The cost accrued go higher, such as $3600 for an hourly one. Before they are temporary workers are trained and adjust to deliver the same level of productivity, the organisation loses money. If not, they would have to pay the ones left more money to keep them motivated and keep the system sustainable. To avoid this, employee well- being should be enforced internally.
Reducing disruption through timely actions
After establishing the types of absences, the cost incurred to fill in for an absence. This lays out the reasons why it is important to manage it actively.
Manager training and preparation
The reality of the matter is that attendance management cannot run smoothly unless it actively prepared for. Of course one will not be able to circumnavigate all the areas, but all angles must be considered closely. That is where managers come in (Donaldson‐Feilder et al., 2008). Addressing these trends ensures managers take a proactive approach and can shield themselves from the costs incurred from sudden absenteeism. Managers need to be educated and empowered with the right tools to handle attendance management. Understanding the problem first will enable the manager to timely and appropriate interventions. For example, if the analysis of records shows regular absence based on mental problems, counselling can be offered before the situation worsens.
Discourage presenteeism and toxic work culture
This is the state where an employee feels obligated to work, regardless of them feeling unwell. This happens more if a company is more targeted on output as the goal or rather they feel their job is not secure. An environment where one feels that they have no option can cause very negative results (Baker‐McClearn et al., 2010). Due to their reduced well-being, they operate slower and with less precision. The quality of service or product is very low. Moreover, the organisation could risk affecting others. Implementing procedures to prevent presenteeism reduces it by up to 39% ((Maclean, 2008). To avoid ruining the organisation’s image and redoing already completed work, the formulation of strategies to fill-in for such employees is key, especially when it is unplanned.
Elements of an attendance management document
Policy and procedures
Every organisation needs to figure out how to set standards to manage expectations. These are the measures that are put place to restrict workers from missing work. These actions are stated explicitly and they ensure consistency as to how they are applied in the company. They define what is an illness and the well-being of their employees. In this contract,
Measuring, Recording, and monitoring
It is important to analyse all records through a controlled system. Both planned and unauthorised absences should be processed by the required manager. The document should be explicit in capturing the expected time gaps and how they will be filled in. There should be a requirement to fill in a form to fully explain all the reasons that caused them to miss work. By monitoring all types of absenteeism it will limit random and unfounded excuses.
A well-detailed procedure should be included to guide what will happen in case an employee misses work. Depending on the period they are out, a plan on who to inform, what forms to fill, and how long they can remain out of work must be included.
Short term management
This endeavour aims to look for a method to enable the sick person to return to work as soon as possible. If unplanned, there should be a predetermined way of alerting the organisation that they won’t be coming to work. Once they report back to work, there should be the first point of contact to obtain an interview. There should a way for said employees to prove that their absence is valid. If they are out because of a sickness, they should be able to provide proof from the doctor. In addition to that, the interviewer should be able to determine the extent of the problem. These records should be stored to establish things patterns such as redundancy. This is also the point where the organisation can determine whether they can intervene to aid in the well-being of their employee.
Long term management
The end goal is to determine whether their gap is permanent or not. The company policies towards managing long-term absence should begin by clarifying the health condition by a certified physician. 25% of the employed population sustain jobs with medical conditions. Once that is established, managing the time they need to be absent should be dealt with proactively. The first approach is to support the employee through their issues to enable them to come back to work in the shortest time. If there is no way an employee can come back to work, their termination should be handled carefully. Other policies include working from home, where the absent employee can still deliver within set timelines. The procedure of reviewing the worker after they come back has to be done and records kept as required.
Managing programmes and support systems
The goal of such programmes is to promote employee well-being. Employee well-being refers to a state of feeling stable to enable the worker to operate at full potential in a holistic approach. A document meant to curb absenteeism should more often than not include the techniques that are used by the organisation to maintain the well-being of their workers (Munir et al., 2008). This means that they formulate and follow through on these rules. These rules could include hand washing, no-smoking rules, anti-alcohol campaigns, cancer scans and education programmes. The key is to identify the issues before and undercut them before they progress to a later, uncontrollable stage.
They help the company maintain a caring image towards their employees. These systems make the workers feel that they are part of the company and not merely people to be used to achieve the money. By raising their morale and well-being, they work much harder towards the vision for the company. Assistance programmes make sure that issues are detected through these platforms by a safe exchange of information. Managing absence increases efficiency as a structure is in place to ensure maximum use of the provided time with minimum delays.
It is prudent to plan for unavoidable circumstances as an important branch of human resource management. An organisation should display its ‘human’ side by catering for its employees as it, in turn, ensures retention. A healthy environment thrives morale and potential. On the other hand, effective management prevents handling absence blindly. Ultimately, absence management positively impacts returns and image.
Baker‐McClearn, D., Greasley, K., Dale, J., and Griffith, F., 2010. Absence management and presenteeism: The pressures on employees to attend work and the impact of attendance on performance. Human Resource Management Journal, 20(3), pp.311-328.
CIPD., 2013. Absence Management: Annual survey report 2013. CIPD.
CIPD., 2015. Absence Management: Annual survey report 2015. CIPD.
Comer, M., 2017. Sickness absence in the labour market: 2016.
Donaldson‐Feilder, E., Yarker, J., and Lewis, R., 2008. Line management competence: the key to preventing and reducing stress at work. Strategic HR Review.
MacLean, A.D.B., 2008. The management of absence: why it matters. Library Management.
Munir, F., Yarker, J., and Haslam, C., 2008. Sickness absence management: encouraging attendance or ‘risk-taking’ presenteeism in employees with chronic illness?. Disability and Rehabilitation, 30(19), pp.1461-1472.
Skopec, L., Musco, T., and Sommers, B.D., 2014, July. A potential new data source for assessing the impacts of health reform: evaluating the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. In Healthcare (Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 113-120). Elsevier.
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