Absence Management And Workforce Management

Absence Management and​ ​ Workforce Management
That absence management is​ a​ key component of​ workforce management does not really need an explicit mention. ​
However, planned and​ ​ unplanned absence is​ a​ universal fact of​ work and​ ​ many organizations might take it​ as​ something that cannot be avoided.
There are ways to minimize both absence and​ ​ its impact. ​
First, we need to look the​ factors that cause absence, particularly unplanned absence that is​ more disruptive to work.
Reasons for​ Absence
SHORTTERM SICKNESS Shortterm sickness is​ a​ major contributor to unplanned absence. ​
An employee might call in sick, or​ produce some kind of​ certificate to prove the​ sickness
LONGTERM SICKNESS This kind of​ absence is​ usually covered by a​ certificate
UNAUTHORIZED ABSENCE or​ PERSISTENT LATECOMING the​ employee might just absent himself or​ herself without any excuse, or​ might be a​ habitual latecomer
AUTHORIZED ABSENCE Employees are entitled to different kinds of​ leave under the​ provisions of​ employment laws. ​
These include annual vacations, maternity and​ ​ paternity leave, educational leave, and​ ​ so on. ​
These kinds of​ absence can be scheduled and​ ​ alternative work arrangements can be made through advance planning
Measuring Absence and​ ​ its Cost
Many organizations do not take the​ trouble to find out the​ cost of​ employee absence, the​ reasons for​ the​ absence and​ ​ ways of​ reducing its impact. ​
With proper focus, absence is​ controllable to some extent, and​ ​ the​ resultant benefits can be significant.
By accumulating absent hours including late hours and​ ​ comparing it​ to total available hours during the​ period, we can calculate the​ percentage of​ time lost owing to absence. ​
By comparing the​ percentage for​ different periods, the​ trend of​ absence can be monitored.
By department and​ ​ section wise monitoring of​ the​ trend, it​ might even be possible to identify some of​ the​ reasons underlying high absenteeism. ​
For example, poor working conditions or​ a​ bad manager or​ supervisor might be aggravating the​ problem in a​ department or​ section.
Absence can also be measured by individual workers. ​
The number and​ ​ length of​ absences of​ each employee during a​ 52week period is​ noted. ​
Problem employees can be identified and​ ​ the​ reasons underlying their absence can be investigated.
Policies and​ ​ Actions for​ Absence Management
Surveys have revealed that sickness is​ a​ major factor for​ absence. ​
The studies also indicate that stressrelated absence is​ increasing compared to earlier periods.
Absence management starts with clear policies for​ allowing employees to take time off due to sickness. ​
The policies should meet the​ minimum requirements under the​ law, and​ ​ can be more liberal to attract better employees.
The policies must be communicated clearly to employees. ​
In particular, employees must be fully aware of​ the​ procedures for​ availing sick leave, such as​ whom to notify, when a​ doctors certificate or​ examination by company doctor is​ required and​ ​ also any returntowork interview requirements.
Implement systems to measure absence by departments/sections and​ ​ by employee. ​
Seeking the​ help of​ occupational health professionals to reduce the​ incidence sickness and​ ​ stress can help reduce incidence of​ occupational health and​ ​ injury problems.
Unacceptably high and​ ​ persistent levels of​ absence need to be handled through disciplinary procedures.
Absence management is​ an important component of​ workforce management. ​
Absences can occur owing to different factors. ​
Managing absences start with the​ organization measuring the​ levels of​ absence and​ ​ identifying the​ reasons for​ it. ​
Once a​ clear picture is​ available, organizations would find it​ easier to tackle unacceptably high levels of​ absence.
Studies indicate that sickness and​ ​ stress are major contributory factors to absence. ​
These are unplanned absences and​ ​ cause more disruption. ​
We look at ​ sickness absence in more detail in a​ separate article.

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