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Some organisations have extremely high levels of absence.
a) Why is it important to proactively manage this high level of absence?
b) What might be included in the procedural document?
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 work 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 (CIPD, 2015).
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 could be very negative. 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. Motivation could be a force that may bring the employee to work even if not filling very well. From the other side unmotivated worker may decide to take day off in the first possible case. 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.
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.
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.
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 prevent 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, help can be offered before the situation worsens.
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 people feel 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 (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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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 important to plan for unavoidable circumstances as a part of the human resource management. An organisation should display its ‘human’ side by carrying for its employees as it, in turn, ensures retention. A healthy environment may boost morale and potential. On the other hand, effective management prevents handling absence blindly. Ultimately, absence management positively impacts returns and image.
Outline the differences between the psychological contract and the contract of employment. Identify why the psychological contract is so important for the organisations today?
A psychological contract is an unwritten implied contract that defines the relationship between an employer and an employee at the place of work. This includes the mutual expectations between an employee and an employer. Employers expect certain things to be done by the employees who in turn expect something of their employers on a good performance as well as the working conditions. Some examples of these expectations include promotions, rewards for exemplary performance, a workload that allows a healthy work-life balance, the loyalty of the employees to be rewarded by loyalty from the organisation, management that encourages feedback and couching, leaders that can be trusted and an inclusive work environment that promotes growth. An employment contract, on the other hand, refers to a contract that an employee signs upon employment that outlines the summary of the services that they are supposed to provide, reporting requirements, the terms of payment, the treatment of intellectual property, the terms of employment and dismissal as well as the terms on which both parties can choose to the end the contract and the period time before the contract elapses (Reid and Standryk, 2004). It is important to note that contracts of employment may be renewed or not. Given the definitions above, this task will explore the differences between the contracts of employment and the psychological contract as well as the importance of psychological contracts in the places of work today.
The first difference between the two contracts lies in how the contracts are made. The employment contacts are written, documenting the general duties and responsibilities of an employee unlike psychological contracts (Reid and Standryk, 2004). Psychological contracts are usually unwritten, which include perceived obligations of both the employer and the employee. In this respect, the employment contract will have specific words detailing the responsibilities of both the employer and employee while the psychological contract only entails the reasonable judgment of the employer and employee on their perceived roles and responsibilities. Due to this, most psychological contracts are subjective. The responsibilities and obligations of both parties as per these contacts depend on their willingness to carry them out unlike in the employment contract where the employee and employer must fulfil all the responsibilities as stipulated in the contract. Another difference between the two contracts is that psychological contracts are established verbally in informal discussions between employees and employers. Employment contacts on the other hand explicitly outline the duties and responsibilities of each party (Andersson & Schalk 1998). In addition to this, it is easy to quantify the breach of the employment contract especially when one party does not do as stipulated by the contact as most of these contacts make provisions for resolution of the same unlike in psychological contracts. Breach of psychological contracts does not lead to resolutions. This breach instead leads to the loss of loyalty, emotional displeasure, lack of motivation, or bad reputation for the firm. It is almost impossible to tackle the breach of these contracts as it is hard to measure the limit to which they have been broken unlike in the employment contracts where it is quite easy to point out targets that have not been achieved or salaries that have not been paid. Finally, psychological contracts are always evolving as the relationship between the concerned parties changes unlike in employment contracts which remain the same.
Psychological contacts are becoming very important to businesses today because, with more globalization and increased competition, there has been an increased need for employers to recognize the importance of their employees in businesses. This includes making them feel valued. This is why psychological contracts are beneficial (Guest & Conway 2002). First, upholding these contacts shows the employees that the management recognizes, values, and respects them. This enables the employees to feel that their role in the company is important which motivates them, therefore increased productivity. Fulfilment of psychological contacts by the management for instance by rewarding hardworking employees inspires positivity, good attitude, commitment, loyalty, and hard work among employees (Cappelli 1999). This motivates them to fulfil their promises too to the management by producing good results which leads to more benefits for the company such as efficiency in production, profitability as well as excellent employee retention. With increased competition and rival firms ready to offer better terms to exemplary employees, employee retention is very important for any business as well as the ability to offer good quality service and products. All these factors enhance the overall well-being of the company by enhancing the image of the organisation. This in return attracting skilled talented labour as everyone wants to work in such a company that keeps the company on an excellent performance.
There are different psychological contracts for each employee since all of them have unique skills and abilities, all of which when combined lead to the overall wellbeing of the company. The management of any company needs to recognize the diversity among its employees (Burke & Cooper, 2002). These contacts assist the employers to see the value of each employee as an individual which enables them to know the strengths, what roles suit each individual and where to place each individual within the company for optimal performance which leads to the optimal performance of the company. In addition to this, these contacts enable the employers not to set unrealistic standards for some of their employees which can demoralize them leading to poor performance. Being seen as an individual by the employers also motivates people to be more productive as they feel valued.
Psychological contracts also fill in the gaps in companies. It is important to note that not all aspects of employees or employers can be captured or codified in the other contacts and hence psychological contracts take care of this. For instance, say John works for XYZ Limited and is paid 1200 Dollars per month. It is difficult to quantify other important aspects of John as an employee such as working well with difficult clients, the fact that he is a team player, assisting the members in his team, and staying in the company even during hard times (Burke & Cooper 2002).
These aspects can be captured in psychological contracts where the employee who can do all those things listed above gets a promotion. In this respect, psychological contacts are used to spell out conditions that would be too difficult or almost impossible to be listed in normal contacts. These attract high-quality employees as well as encourage the employees to embody attributes such as being a good team player to be promoted. This is good for the overall well-being of the company.
Psychological contracts also improve communication within the workplace. This is because these contacts are not formal and hence the basis for their continued development is communication between the employees and the employers. Communication positively affects the contacts for instance, employees know they are doing well and that their efforts are being recognized (Guest & Conway 2002). A gap in communication between the employer and employee could mean that the manager is not aware of the contribution of the employee to the organisation. In this era of technological advancements, communication and personal contact between the employees and employers is important as it increases cooperation and teamwork.
In conclusion, the psychological contract is an unwritten implied contract that defines the relationship between an employer and an employee at the place of work. An employment contract, on the other hand, refers to a contract that an employee signs upon employment that outlines the summary of the services that they are supposed to provide, reporting requirements, the terms of payment, the treatment of intellectual property, the terms of employment and dismissal as well as the terms on which both parties can choose to the end the contract and the period time before the contract elapses. The differences between the two contacts include the fact that an employment contract is explicit while the psychological one is implicit. In addition to this, most psychological contracts are subjective and hence the responsibilities and obligations of both parties as per these contacts depend on their willingness to carry them out unlike in the employment contract where the employee and employer must fulfil all the responsibilities as it is stipulated in the contract (Andersson & Schalk 1998). The benefits of psychological contact have also been explored in this task. These include the fact that these contracts enhance communication and cohesion in the organisation, they can also be tailor-made for each employee to fit their differences as well as filling in the gaps by spelling out information that is hard to capture in the other contacts as well as the fact that the management makes the employees feel valued when it honours these contracts. This motivates employees prompting them to increase their productivity. With all the information above, psychological contracts are instrumental for all organisations to uphold due to the many benefits they attract to an organisation.
Andersson, N. & Schalk, R. (1998). The psychological contract in retrospect and prospect. Journal of Organisational Behavior, 19 (Special Issue). 637-648
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.
Burke, R. & Cooper, C. (Eds.). (2000). The Organisation in Crisis. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Cappelli, P., 1999. The new deal at work: managing the market-driven workforce. MA, Harvard Business Press.
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.
Guest, D. & Conway, N. (2002). The Psychological Contract in the Public Sector. London: CIPD.
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.
Reid, R.B., and Standryk, L.E., 2004. The Written Employment Contract. Lancaster. Brooks & Welch LLP. Web
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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