Do you understand the current health of your workforce? In other words, do you have a deep understanding of why employees are taking time off? Do you know what is causing illness and injury? Can you analyse data to discover patterns and trends to help inform management and planning, as well as ensure workplace health and safety?
Like most organisations, the answer is likely no.
The reasons employees take time off are varied and complex, and cannot be simply put down to whether an employee has a sniffle or not. Absence from work can be a result of involuntary (genuine) factors, or voluntary (motivated) reasons, or a combination of both.
Now, more than at any other time in recent history, workers are fearful for both their physical and mental safety, and their jobs, and this has a number of repercussions on their health and wellbeing. One way this is likely to manifest is through increased absenteeism.
Centralising absenteeism across an organisation doesn’t just improve efficiency and the balance sheet, it can actually have added benefits for the overall health of your workforce.
This is because as absenteeism is tracked, data can be analysed and patterns can then be identified, from individual actions right through to broader organisational issues.
This can lead to a triaging of employee issues, for better and more personalised communications and support.
Remote workforce and post-pandemic stress
Following the pandemic and a likely recession, it is understandable stress is on the rise. Employees don’t know if they are going to have a job, which leads to increased worry and strain around making ends meet. This is a basic instinct caused by the limbic system and cannot be explained away.
In turn, this is leading to an increase in mental health issues and absenteeism. Black Dog Institute May 2020 data reports anxiety and panic, depression, anger, confusion and uncertainty, and financial stress, are all on the rise, with estimates of between 25% to 33% of the community experiencing high levels of worry and anxiety during similar pandemics.
However, because the workforce is in the main remote now, this is not being actively tracked so employees are falling through the cracks.
Having a centralised platform to manage not only absenteeism policy and procedure, but also reporting and escalations, makes the life of HR far easier, and also facilitates the wellbeing of employees.
How often does an employee concern just get lost in the ether? By centralising the HR function, employee communications are tracked and retained, for immediate support and/or escalation. If employees don’t get an immediate response, this can lead them to feel there is a lack of care within an organisation, which directly impacts motivation and wellbeing. It is essential to show care by addressing employee concerns immediately with the right rapid response support measures.
Care and support
Employees want to feel appreciated and understood by their employer. If they have an illness or an injury, they want to know their employer cares, and will help to rectify the problem.
A centralised absence management platform facilitates regular two way communication with employees, even if they have not brought up an issue. In this way, employers can communicate and show empathy to employees, which will have a positive impact on engagement and loyalty to the company.
By using a platform to centralise absence policies and procedures, immediate next best actions can also be taken, so no one slips through the cracks. Many employers now are using these platforms to identify and support employees in need, or offer extra support by referring them to mental health or medical services directly.
Collecting and analysing data can mean employee wellbeing issues are identified before they become crises. Data can show patterns and offer insights into why absenteeism increases, and if there is a management or safety issue within a particular department. Employees can forgive accidents, but they won’t forgive inaction. Early intervention can mean you keep valuable employees in the business.
A purpose-built and centralised software for employee relations case management, with good and trusted privacy measures, is vital at this time to ensure the wellbeing of your workforce. By managing issues and solving them before they get out of control using a platform like ERTrack, an organisation can not only save time and money, it can also improve the health of its workforce, therefore increasing engagement, and by extension, productivity.
To find out more about why mastering absenteeism is critical to strengthen your business, download our free guide. Complete with factsheets, checklists and quick tips, this guide is critical for any organisation serious about managing absenteeism now, and for the future.