How good is your data?

As with any business strategy, good data is the key to success and absence management is no different. As we like to say around here: “good absence management starts with good data.” How good is your data, really?

Even though you may keep track of who is absent on a daily basis, unless this data is kept readily available and trends are analysed, it is of no real value when it comes to lowering your costs or absence levels.

Honeydew’s acid test gives you a clear indication of how useful your absence data really is and what you can do to improve. Just take note of how many ‘No’ answers you have to the following questions:

–          Do you know what your current absence level is?

–          Are you able to access employee’s absence histories easily?

–          Have you set triggers for frequency and length of absence?

–          Do you know when employees trip those triggers?

–          Do you know what drives absence in your company?

–          Do you know what the direct and indirect costs of absence are per day?

–          Do your managers complete return to work interviews and welfare calls?

If your answer to 2 or more of those questions is ‘no’, then there are steps you should take to improve your absence data collection. Moving away from using Excel spreadsheets to a more sophisticated system that analyses the data for you would be the first step in the process. That way you spend your time doing more value adding tasks.

Without up-to-date and accurate data on absence, making strategic decisions to tackle absence will be difficult. If you are only now  collating absence data for last month or even last year, then the chances are, you’re missing a trick to quickly impact on what is happening across the organisation right now. Absence trends can occur & build fairly quickly so to keep on top of them, it’s important to collate information about the length and frequency as well as causes of absence. It’s crucial that you have the full details recorded for each individual employee so that managers can intervene and support where a worrying pattern is emerging. But it is equally important to collate the data  and look at the bigger picture, not only individual records. It may well be that there is a pattern of absenteeism in a particular department or across the company due to things like management practices, poor infection control or lack of training in correct lifting technique. By knowing your ‘enemy’, you can stage a targeted and effective intervention.

Lastly, although knowing the cost of absence will not directly help to lower your absence levels, it does support the business case for investment in absence management and the underlying costs can shock you.

Honeydew Health have a whole range of blogs and articles explaining how to ensure you are collecting the correct data and our very own online Engage system can ensure all data is collected, stored and managed with very little effort from your team. By simply joining our Linkedin group or signing up to our newsletter we can give your company a FREE absence diagnostic. See how absence affects your company today!