Absence Management

What is absence management?

Absence management is the strategy used by employers to minimize employee absences, prevent disruptions to the company, and increase worker productivity through rules, procedures, or programs.

It entails finding a middle ground between penalizing workers whose absences are suspicious or excessive and supporting those who leave work owing to illness, injury, or unanticipated events.

Absences from work are inevitable. Individuals require time off from work due to emergencies, illness, and other events. Absence management aims to reduce employee absenteeism by implementing protocols to identify the root causes of the problem and offer solutions that address them.

It is a mechanism to level down absenteeism at work. A systematic way to effectively tackle and control employee absences as a part of workforce management. In a greater sense, it aims to ensure enhanced employee productivity and smooth workplace operations.

Managing absence makes it easier for employers to balance a workforce’s growing needs and demands. According to statistics, poor mental health among employees would cost Indian employers around 1,100 billion Indian rupees. The cost of employee presenteeism amounted to about 510 billion, and absenteeism to 140 billion rupees.

Why is absence management important?

Effective absence management carries both operational and financial implications. Beyond financial strain, it introduces additional challenges, such as shift rescheduling and workload rearrangement.

A robust absence management system alleviates HR tension, fostering a positive work environment. After all, absences can also impact work culture and employee engagement.

Bolton and Hughes (2001) identified various causes of absence, including illness, family responsibilities, personal problems, and lack of commitment. They proposed strategies to create a working environment that promotes high attendance levels. Some of the critical considerations for implementing these strategies include:

  • Going beyond control procedure.
  • Emphasizing the employer’s commitment to a positive work environment.
  • Highlighting responsibilities at all levels.
  • Aligning actions with statements of support.
  • Potentially assessing organizational structure and management style.

What is the role of HR in absence management?

Absence tracking data is vital for HR professionals in ensuring accurate payroll and shaping intelligent absence management policies. HR actively monitors and records sickness absence, conducts return-to-work discussions and orchestrates absence review meetings at formal stages.

They must identify trends, formulate strategies for efficient employee coverage, enhance overall productivity, and curtail costs linked to absenteeism accurately. Moreover, it acts as a discerning tool for the HRs to recognize instances where employees may require additional support.

In addressing these challenges HR faces, technology emerges as a valuable ally. It effectively tackles issues such as

  • HR admin overload
  • Legislative non-compliance,
  • Managers disconnect
  • Lack of long-term perspective
  • Low employee well-being scores

What is absence management policy?

Absence Management policies are company regulations that aim to:

  • Proactively manage staff health and related absenteeism
  • Achieve objectives such as promoting health and safety,
  • Save resources,
  • Identifying necessary workplace changes,
  • Ensuring compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act.

Addressing the reasons behind unpredictable absences is a pivotal aspect of the absence management policy.

What Should be included in Effective Absence Management Policy?

An effective absence management policy should address the following key components:

  1. Recruitment: Ensuring new hires understand the importance of attendance and know the company’s expectations regarding attendance and punctuality.
  2. Encouraging High Performance: Providing incentives and recognition for employees who consistently maintain good attendance records and perform well in their roles.
  3. Promoting Well-being: Offering support services such as employee assistance programs, mental health resources, and wellness initiatives to help employees manage stress and maintain their physical and psychological health.
  4. Ensuring Safety: Implementing safety protocols and procedures to prevent workplace injuries and accidents that could result in employee absences.
  5. Managing Presenteeism & Lost Time: Implementing strategies to address presenteeism and reduce lost-time due to absenteeism, such as offering flexible work arrangements, promoting a healthy work-life balance, and supporting employees struggling with health or personal issues.

What are some Best Practices while creating an Absence Management policy?

An effective absence management policy should encompass numerous elements to address the challenges of high absenteeism. Here are key components that should be included:

HRMS Software Implementation:

Selecting the right Human Resource Management System (HRMS) software is crucial for streamlining absence management. HRMS automates processes such as tracking absences, calculating LOP or overtime, and generating reports for efficient management.

Example: Implementing robust HRMS software ensures a centralized database, automating absence tracking and facilitating seamless reporting for effective absence management.

Employee Benefits Provision:

Comprehensive employee benefits, including insurance, leave policies, and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), can improve employee well-being. These benefits can act as preventive measures against absenteeism by addressing employees’ physical and mental health needs.

Note: Offering competitive employee advantages such as insurance, leaves, and EAP fosters a supportive environment, promoting employee well-being and minimizing factors contributing to absenteeism.

Actions and Procedures:

According to 2023 APA report, 92% of workers said it is very (57%) or somewhat (35%) important to them to work for an organization that values their emotional and psychological well-being.

So, implementing preventive initiatives to measure and manage absenteeism, such as regular health check-ups and wellness programs. Allowing flexible work schedules or remote work options to accommodate various personal and professional needs reduces the likelihood of unplanned absences.

For example: Initiating proactive measures, such as health check-ups and flexible schedules, demonstrates a commitment to preventing absenteeism and addressing employee needs.

Absence Review Meetings:

Conducting regular absence review meetings to analyze trends, identify potential issues, and develop strategies for improvement. These meetings should involve managers, HR, and relevant stakeholders to address individual and organizational factors contributing to absenteeism collaboratively.

Example: Absence review meetings serve as a strategic forum for analyzing absenteeism trends and fostering collaboration between management and HR to address underlying problems and implement remedial actions.

How to Create an Effective Absence Management System?

The role of technology and a futuristic mindset play a critical role in building an effective absence management system. So, embrace the synergy of technology and a forward-thinking approach to sculpting a system that anticipates challenges and adapts dynamically.

Well, here are a few steps to create an effective absence management system;

Policy and Plan Design:

Craft a customized absence management policy intricately designed to align with organizational goals, ensuring clarity and strategic integration.

Choosing the Right Absence Management System

Look for a tailored management system, validated by peers in the industry. Ensure that it a unified HRMS that simultaneously integrates with your payroll and shift schedular timesheet processes.

Transform your absentee management with KEKA HRMS! Say goodbye to manual tracking and embrace automation for accurate leave management. Maximize productivity and compliance effortlessly. Try KEKA now!

Workforce Culture:

Foster a culture that values employee well-being and encourages open communication, laying the foundation for a proactive and supportive approach.

Employee Support:

Extend a compassionate and comprehensive support system to employees, addressing their needs while nurturing an environment of assistance.

Simplified and Effective Administration:

Streamline the administrative process with simplicity and efficiency, ensuring that absence management becomes a seamless aspect of organizational operations.

Reduction in the Cost of Absenteeism:

Implement strategic measures to curtail the financial impact of absenteeism, focusing on preventive initiatives to create a healthier and more engaged workforce.

Metrics and Trends Reporting:

Harness the power of data analytics to create insightful reports, understanding valuable metrics and trends that empower informed decision-making for success and growth.

In conclusion, creating a holistic approach to minimize absenteeism and promote organizational success is vital. An effective absence management policy should integrate technological solutions, comprehensive employee benefits, proactive initiatives, and regular review meetings.

 

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