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Reducing Absence: a Viewpoint

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1 Reducing Absence: a Viewpoint
Optimum performance requires people to be present at their place of work Absence has always been a concern of employers Methods for reducing absence have frequently focused on disciplinary or punitive measures Companies are not looking at promoting attendance and rehabilitating employees

2 Absence Trends (1 of 2) CIPD 2003 – 9 days absence per employee per year This is a reduction on previous year CBI 2003 – 6.8 days lost per person per year

3 Absence Trends (2 of 2) Absence is higher in larger organisations
Public sector absence is usually higher than that in private sector Some industrial sectors report higher absence than others

4 Cost of Absence CIPD Survey – organisations felt absence to be a considerable cost but less than half measured the cost Measurement of cost difficult – needs to include direct and indirect costs Employment Studies Inst – suggest that there is virtually no robust data on direct and indirect costs of absence

5 Long Term Sickness Costs
Bevan reports that long-term sickness costs account for between 30 and 70% of absence costs Companies are not that equipped to measure this accurately

6 Growing Importance of Absence
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) changes in 1994 – burden passed to employer Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – employers need to provide reasonable adjustments to enable disabled (including long-term sick) to continue in employment

7 Causes of Absence Minor illnesses Back pain for manual workers
Stress for non-manual workers

8 Model of Attendance Figure 15.1  The Rhodes and Steers process model of attendance (Source: S. Rhodes and R. Steers (1990) Managing Employee Absenteeism, Reading, Mass.: Addison Wesley.)

9 Managing for Attendance
Policies for managing absence Need for consistency in the construction and implementation of absence management policies Line Managers must feel some ownership of policy and procedures

10 Attendance Management Policies
Causes of absence Mix of measures to reduce risk of ill health Measures intended to reduce spells of absence Mix of methods to discourage absence and positively encourage attendance How each will operate for long-term and short-term absences

11 The ALIEDIM Process Assess the absence problem
Locate the absence problem Identify and prioritise absence causes Evaluate the current absence control methods Design the absence control programme Implement the absence control programme Monitor the effectiveness of the absence control programme (Huczynski & Fitzpatrick, 1989)

12 Scoring Absence Figure 15.2  The Bradford factor formula for scoring absence (Note: The score is usually calculated over a year.)

13 Absence Procedures (1 of 3)
Maintaining accurate records Implementing absence review and trigger points Setting absence targets and benchmarks Providing training and support to line managers

14 Absence Procedures (2 of 3)
Clearly communicated absence notification procedures Analysis of absence data Ongoing contact during absence Return to work interviews

15 Absence Procedures (3 of 3)
Formal absence reviews Disciplinary procedures Communicating absence levels and performance assessments Attendance bonus and reward schemes Changes to work and work organisation Occupational health and support

16 Absence Targets One approach is to tie absence targets to managers performance review and performance payments Targets need to be carefully used so as not to give the impression that absence is not allowed

17 Ongoing Contact During Absence
Reduces length of absence Demonstrates to employee organisational interest Maintain employee motivation Can keep them up to date

18 Return to Work Interviews
Welcome the employee back Update them on recent events Check employee well enough to resume duties Assess any further organisational support required Reinforce attendance requirements Review employee’s absence record

19 Use of Disciplinary Procedures (1 of 2)
There are occasions when someone is too ill to work and has to be dismissed Dismissing someone who is unable to work because of ill health is potentially fair A warning must be given that dismissal may occur if employee does not return to work Consultation must take place ahead of time to determine a return in foreseeable future

20 Use of Disciplinary Procedures (2 of 2)
Act on medical advice Normally refrain form dismissing sick employee for at least 6 months No dismissal should occur if employee falls under definition of ‘disabled’. Dismissal once employer is satisfied that no reasonable adjustments can be made

21 Persistently Short Periods of Absence
Is there a genuine underlying medical reason? Review and where necessary instigate disciplinary action

22 Summary Employee absence incurs costs and lost performance
Major cause of short-term absence is minor illnesses Long-term absence – back pain and stress Need to understand causes of absence to be able to remedy them Attendance management policies can include a whole range of procedures to measure, record, minimise absences

23 Focus on Skills III: Performance Appraisal
Not a precise measurement A subjective assessment is made History of being damned for its ineffectiveness People seek information on how they are doing Is difficult to do and frequently done badly When done well can be invaluable to the business

24 Contrasting Approaches
Motivation of management control Motivation of self development

25 The Management Control Approach
Is likely to engender: Conflictual behaviour and attitudes Negotiated modifications to schemes Tight bureaucratic controls Bland, safe statements in appraisal process Little impact on actual performance Reduced openness, trust and initiative

26 The Development Approach
Develops co-operative behaviour Confronts issues, seeking resolutions Does not work well with bureaucratic control Produces searching analysis directly affecting performance Requires high trust

27 Problems For Those Conducting Appraisals
Prejudice Insufficient knowledge of appraisees The halo effect Context

28 Problems For Both Appraisees & Appraisers
Paperwork Formality

29 Causes of Failure Outcomes are ignored
Everyone is ‘just above average’ Appraising the wrong features

30 Appraisal Interview Style
Problem solving style Tell and sell Tell and listen

31 Appraisal Interview Sequence
Preparation Reception Setting

32 Appraisal Interview Structure (1 of 2)
Figure III.1  Structure for a performance appraisal interview

33 Appraisal Interview Structure (2 of 2)
Figure III.1  Structure for a performance appraisal interview

34 Making Appraisal Work Ensure all those involved are clear about what system is for Visible ownership by senior and line management Openness Participation and involvement Administered to cause few problems Supported by follow up action

35 Summary (1 of 2) Performance appraisal has a poor track record
Performance appraisal has considerable potential when done well Several problems including prejudice, halo effect, problems of context Three approaches to the appraisal interview

36 Summary (2 of 2) Features of the appraisal interview – opening, factual review, appraisee’s views on performance, appraiser’s views, problem solving, objective setting Follow up important Training is essential

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