2016 CIPD Absence Management Survey: How to Reduce Absence in Your Service

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Absence Management Survey 2016 has suggested that although more employers are recognising the value of line managers in managing absence at work, they are not giving them the tools and support necessary to do it effectively.

The survey questioned more than 1,000 employers and found an increase in the number valuing the involvement of line managers in absence management. Some 28% said that line managers taking primary responsibility for absence management is in their top three most effective approaches for managing short-term absence and 20% reported it as an effective approach for managing long-term absence. However, the survey revealed that most employers are not giving line managers the tools they need to carry out their responsibilities effectively, with only 44% training managers in how to handle short-term absence.

Read on to learn more about the CIPD report and how you can begin to reduce absence levels within your service.

The CIPD Absence Management report found the 5 leading causes of short-term absence to be: 1. Minor illness; 2. Stress; 3. Musculoskeletal injuries; 4. Home/family/carer responsibilities; and 5. Mental ill health. Although some of these causes are clearly unavoidable, in many cases, early and effective absence management and support can help to reduce the incidence of absence and minimise the adverse effects on your service.

4 Essential Steps to Improve Absence Management 

  1. Return to work interviews: 79% of organisations reported that they used return to work interviews as a means of managing absence. Return to work interviews can help to identify reasons for absence and put in place preventative strategies as well and acting as a deterrent to future avoidable absences.
  2. Trigger mechanisms to review attendance: Used by 70% of organisations, the setting of fair and clearly understood thresholds at which attendance reviews are carried out was seen as a useful measure across all employment sectors.
  3. Sickness absence information being given to line managers: Involving line managers helps to encourage a team approach to absence management by increasing their awareness of this important task and ensuring that it is not seen only as a senior management responsibility. Line managers are likely to be closest to any absentees and are often most able to offer support or spot patterns of absence.
  4. Disciplinary procedures: The use of disciplinary procedures to address unacceptable absence was reported by 59% of organisations and can be helpful in cases of persistent absence where less formal measures have been ineffective.

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