At the heart of every HR professional’s approach to absence management is a desire to tackle employee absenteeism before it develops into a more serious issue.
Every business will have its own absence policies and procedures, but in order for these to work to the best of their ability, these need to be effectively communicated to employees and managers alike, with HR and management proactively and appropriately applying them.
Absenteeism could suggest a lack of engagement from employees, or they could feel overworked. It might be an issue within a certain department or line manager, or a chronic illness that hasn’t yet been flagged. Whatever the cause, business leaders need to have the capability to deal with absences empathetically and efficiently.
The UK is dealing with rising inflation and crippling energy prices, meaning the pressure people are under in their everyday lives hasn’t necessarily eased in the wake of the pandemic. Employers are waking to the fact that mental health can have just as much of an impact on employees’ ability to carry out their work effectively and efficiently as physical health does. Mental health issues are naturally much more difficult to identify than physical ones, so it’s never been more important for HR to have the ability to spot trends and identify potential issues as early as possible.
The financial impact of employee absences
Monitoring absence rates gives managers an overview of employee performance, engagement, and overall wellbeing. The cost of absences, however, is often overlooked. Research by the CIPD indicates the average cost per employee is £522 and with absence rates at their highest level in a decade, effective absence management is imperative going forward.
Direct costs of absences include paying the salary of the absent employee, combined with any overtime incurred by colleagues for covering their duties or working extra hours, and loss of business output. There are indirect costs to consider too, such as recruiting temporary staff, training and support time of other employees, the added pressure brought on the rest of the team due to the extra workload, as well as the time it takes for replacements to get up-to-speed and become sufficiently productive.
All of this adds up, so spotting a trend of higher-than-usual absenteeism and getting to the root cause before it becomes a wider-reaching, and ultimately more expensive issue is paramount.
The value of HR software for absence management
HR software, like Natural HR, not only makes it easier to record absences, but also allows for absence data to be measured and compared internally and externally, helping to understand and address their causes and identify underlying trends.
HR tech can ensure managers are following best practices, with the help of integrated tools – such as the Bradford Factor – to help leaders keep track of absence rates throughout the team, as well as compare their organisation’s absence levels against external benchmarks. Reports can then highlight when employees have reached a trigger threshold, indicating when further conversations need to be held to identify whether additional support is required and how absence levels can be improved. Predetermined workflows can guide appropriate personnel through the next steps to ensure they are completing the right task at the right time.
HR software also supports the ability to manage absences when it comes to strategic staffing and forward planning. This data helps managers account for when they are likely to have more absences so they can ensure they are adequately resourced with the right skill sets to avoid additional costs to the company and mitigate against potentially reduced business output.
If you’d like to find out more about how HR software can support your absence management, as well as discover the multitude of other ways it can streamline your HR processes, you can register for a free demo here.