Encouraging absence trends…but don’t become complacent

Annual CIPD statistics revealed this month, show that the nation’s sickness absence figures have fallen by almost 1 day since 2011. Across all sectors the average figure is now 6.8 days compared to 7.7 for the previous year.

Hopefully this trend is indicative of the hard work that HR professionals and management teams have been putting in to develop stronger absence management strategies and greater rapport with staff.

With the development of evermore advanced technology to help HR departments tackle important business-wide issues such as absences, it is perhaps unsurprising that the figures are improving. However, at Cascade we have evidence to suggest that forward-thinking organisations with the right software system in place, can achieve much greater levels of absence improvements.

Our client Synergy Housing identified a significant absence problem and worked hard to develop a new strategy linked to pay, and incorporating the Bradford Factor score, to help address this. The benefits, in terms of absence levels, cost savings and employee morale, were vast. Click here to find out more. Elsewhere Leeds Housing Concern’s absence figures fell by 18% in one year with the help of Cascade – this case study can be found in the free Getting to Grips with Absence Management white paper.

Organisations do need to be cautious though that the adverse issue of presenteeism does not arise. If employees are genuinely ill they should not feel that they have to come in to work – it is more important that they rest in order to make a full recovery. If they don’t follow this advice there is a risk of the sickness being passed on to colleagues, plus they are likely to be less productive in any case.

Fundamentally whether absenteeism or presenteeism is the core problem, HR and empowered line managers need to focus on increasing levels of communication and rapport with staff, to gain a clearer picture of the absence scenario within their own organisation. It is important to develop meaningful relationships with employees to understand if anything can be done to address the physical or mental pressures they may be experiencing, as this will be beneficial for the individual concerned, the wider team and the company’s bottom line.

If you would like to speak to a member of the Cascade team regarding absence or presenteeism concerns within your organisation, call T: 0113 255 4115 or complete our short enquiry form to request a call back.


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Cascade HR is a well-established, award-winning provider of fully-integrated HR and payroll software. The company is renowned as much for its quality of project management and ongoing customer service levels, as it is its dynamic technology. Over