41% of employers admit their absenteeism policy is still in its infancy. This can be seen from a survey conducted by Indiville on behalf of Mensura. So there’s work to be done, both for large organisations and SMEs.
But what are the first baby steps? “Before you can effectively build a positive absenteeism policy, you need to know how mature your organisation is in terms of absenteeism,” says Dana Paris. As an absenteeism consultant at Certimed, she stimulates and guides companies towards the development of a sustainable and positive absenteeism policy. The project plan for this can be split into 3 steps.
Step 1: Take a look at your current absenteeism approach
“We can work out a goal-oriented plan based on our 5-step method only after we have an idea of the current absenteeism approach and problems,” says Dana. For this, we sit around a table with the HR manager or another key figure within the organisation and hold an in-depth meeting. This in-depth meeting provides greater clarity about the maturity of the absenteeism policy.”
How does it work in practice?
Dana: “We use a fixed checklist: is there even a reason to put absenteeism on the agenda? What goal do you want to achieve with your efforts? Do you already have absenteeism procedures? Do you monitor a limited number of absenteeism figures? Is your current approach more reactive or proactive? Are supervisors involved, or is absenteeism mainly an HR matter? And so forth.”
How mature is your policy today?
We draw a line in the sand together
- Phase 1: absenteeism procedures
Labour legislation is followed and the work regulations contain a description of the absenteeism procedures. There is no vision or absenteeism policy (yet), and absenteeism procedures are not always clear or established. Hardly any absenteeism figures are kept and there is no dialogue about absenteeism.
- Phase 2: absenteeism policy
There is a developed absenteeism policy with a transparent absenteeism approach. A structured approach to absenteeism is taken. Everyone is familiar with the absenteeism procedures and can provide guidance, both for the absent employee and the supervisor. Absenteeism figures and their impact on the work organisation are communicated freely. This absenteeism policy can be part of a broader welfare policy and can contain a vision and action points on workload, performance and reintegration.
- Phase 3: positive absenteeism policy
A positive attitude can be seen predominantly in your absenteeism policy. There is a focus on developing a relationship of trust between supervisors and employees, and a warm professional dialogue is stimulated. Not only do they keep in touch during the absenteeism phase, but they also pay attention to the underlying factors that could trigger absenteeism and make the employability of employees open to discussion.
- Phase 4: sustainable and positive absenteeism policy
A positive absenteeism policy has been firmly established. Further: you strive for a sustainable change in your corporate culture every day. The work environment focuses on prevention and a proactive approach to absenteeism; exemplary behaviour is encouraged and everyone feels involved. Employees themselves actively seek solutions to maintain their own employability and that of their team..
Step 2: project plan to guide a tailor-made absenteeism policy
The insights gained while looking at the current approach – the first step – are used as the foundation for the absenteeism consultant to determine the maturity phase of your organisation. But it doesn’t stop there.
Dana: “We also draw up a project plan: what are the concrete steps you still need to take to achieve the ultimate goal – a sustainable and positive absenteeism policy – based on the existing situation? Consider, for example, coaching of supervisors, education and support for conducting absenteeism interviews, and interpreting absenteeism figures. This will ensure the tailored process and timeline for rolling out your absenteeism policy will gradually take shape.”
Kruidvat was struggling with high absenteeism in some of its stores. Certimed coached the branch managers to conduct absenteeism interviews – in a warm and professional way.
Would you like to know the impact? Read the testimonial.
Step 3: Return on Investment of your positive absenteeism policy
And last but not least: the Return on Investment of a positive absenteeism policy can be calculated in the project plan.
Dana: : “Organisations are often concerned about the extra workload and associated costs. This is why we always compare the investments against the costs of current short-term absenteeism. It is usually a serious eye-opener.”