How to: Set absence targets to achieve good attendance
Effective absence management is highly dependent on good communication, specifically communication between management and employees. If the employee is honest and punctual in updating the employer on the status of their health or personal situation, the employer can help and manage the situation for a swift return to work and minimal impact on the remaining employees.
When time is of the essence and a manager’s workforce is large, communication with absent employees can be difficult. However, a few key communication targets, if achieved, can achieve significantly higher attendance levels.
Here are 4 key management tools to help you set absence targets to achieve good attendance.
1) Monthly information: Adopting the correct information systems for attendance management can gather monthly or weekly reports on attendance patterns of departments and even single employees. Analysing the patterns can give a wealth of information about why and when your employees are off work. Additionally, business forecasting is possible by tracking absence costs for the current attendance trends. See the Acas guide to attendance management for easy calculations to determine Lost Time Rates.
2) Trigger alerts: Larger companies may find it hard to keep track of employees, especially if long term sick. Triggers can be included in your information systems to alert the appropriate manager via e-mail or text when an employee has been off work for, as an example, 2 weeks, or if the employee has not updated the company on their situation. This reminds management that an employee should be contacted and the relevant steps be taken.
3) Management actions: Ensuring not only that management have clear and measurable targets relating to welfare calls during the absence, Return to Work interviews, Trigger review meetings, but that these form part of internal communication and management performance reviews is crucial for successful attendance management.
- At Honeydew Health we believe that at least 50% of Return to Work interviews should be conducted on the 1st day of absence and 100% by the end of the working week.
- Once an employee’s attendance trigger is tripped, 100% of follow up/review meetings should be conducted within a week.
- Management should be trained/ updated on attendance management techniques quarterly or more frequently if requested.
4) Setting goals: Once motivation becomes emotional (motivated by enjoyment of work and wanting to sincerely better their performance), absenteeism should naturally drop. By adding a departmental or personal target such as, ‘100% attendance for the next 2 weeks’, employees have an additional reason to maintain their good attendance. Inform employees of their progress and keep them updated on how and why their targets are progressing in the way they are.
Honeydew Health can highlight the drops in attendance and improve the health of your employees using occupational health services combined with great advice for setting up wellbeing schemes within the workplace. You can find out more here.