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. This can result in good attendance and better absence metrics.

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. This 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, included in your information systems, alert the appropriate manager via e-mail or text. These can be set to alert when an employee has been off work, or if the employee has not updated the company on their situation. Reminders tell 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.

  • We believe 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 the 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. We use occupational health services combined with great advice for setting up wellbeing schemes within the workplace. Find out more here.