Hard-pressed frontline managers are undoubtedly the best people to manage absenteeism. But in order to do so effectively, they need better support to make the right decisions.
The variability of reasons behind absences can be overwhelming. And combined with the expansive range of possible responses by the employer, it can be extraordinarily difficult to handle each case in the best way for all parties.
Mental health related issues alone cost UK businesses 91 million days a year, and people miss work because of stress, burnout, bullying and harassment, as well as illness, injury, care pressures, and the list just goes on…
Unscheduled absences, of any sort, can greatly disrupt productivity, and thus a range of approaches aim to keep it to a minimum. What’s often lacking though―the frontline skills to choose the best response.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s Absence Management Survey revealed 27 different approaches for managing short-term absence. But when an organization has that many possible answers, how can a manager know the best to choose in any given situation?
The same CIPD report found 93% of organizations have a written absence or attendance policy in place to guide frontline managers, and they often pass off this extremely important responsibility to a team with skills and resources to apply what is likely a highly complex policy: 11% nominate absence case managers for short-term absence and 22% for long-term absences.
Fortunately, there are alternatives.
Helping people to get back to work
Absence management tools that use artificial intelligence can help create a workplace culture of fairness and equality, which actively drives down absenteeism. They also empower supervisors to make the right decisions on employee unscheduled absences, and in a timely, consistent and efficient way.
When someone is out on long-term leave, managing their return-to-work can be complex and costly. Thus, it’s important that the right processes are followed for both employers and employees. This involves keeping accurate records, staying in close touch, planning how to help employees return to work and supporting them to stay there.
Intelligent automation solutions make these processes simple by collating all information required and automating the steps that need to be taken.
Being consistent while treating people like individuals
Managers applying absence management policies fairly and consistently, while at the same time taking an employee’s specific circumstances and history into consideration, can make a huge difference for workplace morale.
By defaulting to a personal preference for handling a particular situation, risks may include employees not being treated equally, and due weight may not be given for individual circumstances.
Intelligent automation helps managers follow the right approach for different situations, guiding them through the proper steps in accordance with HR policy, while providing access to records that can inform quick and fair decisions.
Similarly, mental health is a growing contributor to absence and Deloitte estimates poor mental health costs UK employers £33bn- £42bn each year from absence costs, presenteeism costs and turnover costs.
To make better, more informed decisions about individuals struggling with mental health issues, intelligent automation can guide managers through the correct processes, including monitoring wellbeing and following up with the employee at the right times.
What’s more, intelligent automation can also better enable employees to report in sick, for example applications for smartphones to ensure the business receives timely and accurate information on who is out. Implementing a self-service absence system also means employees can shoulder more of the administrative requirements, easing the burden on managers.
Are you ready to leverage the significant benefits of