24 April 2014

5 Ways To Reduce Absence Using Employee Self Service


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Health and wellbeing Talent management Technology


Reducing absence (and the associated costs) should be a priority for all businesses. Capturing accurate absence data and the ability to analyse, act upon and reduce absence as a result, should be on every company’s check list for their people data system. Employee Self Service offers a variety of ways to accurately capture this absence data, enabling management and HR to start reducing absence costs.

1) Enabling employees to enter their own absence records

The most accurate and efficient way to capture employee data is to allow the employees themselves to enter it into the system, this is made even easier when using SaaS delivered systems such as Ciphr, as the employee can insert absences at any time, from any location. Using employee self service software enables a business to push the responsibility of the data entry onto the people concerned. Entering their own reasons for time off, the exact time they arrived or left the office, or their expected return date following absence, enables an employee to take control of their own record and ensure that it’s correct. Absence verification can subsequently be carried out by a line manager, which reinforces the visibility and accuracy of the absence, further discouraging employees from taking absences that aren’t genuine.

The more accurate the data, the more accurate data analysis results will be, aiding you directly when devising absence reduction strategies.

2) Increasing employee absence record visibility

bad-absence-historyMaking absence records and history available to individuals allows the visualisation of the total number of days accrued or any pattern an employee’s absence may form. If an employee has a less than satisfactory record, where their absence is concerned, then being able to see it visually on-screen, and knowing that management and HR have the same visibility, is a very effective way of discouraging further activity. Absence patterns that may be due to environmental conditions are easier to identify, allowing the employee to act in order to reduce further episodes.
The same also works positively for those employees with a good absence record, reinforcing the fact by allowing them to see their absence history encourages them to ‘keep it up’.

3) Return to work (RTW) interviews

Return to work interviews are often used to discourage non-genuine sickness. The knowledge that there will be an interview with a manager upon their return to work will often be enough to reduce unnecessary sick days from being taken. For genuine absence, these interviews are an effective way to discuss any requirements an employee may have, and to make sure that the business is doing all it can where employee wellness and occupational health is concerned.
RTW interview’s also serve as a forum for a manager to enquire as to whether the workplace has had any influence on the employee’s health – if it did, then the reason can be addressed to eliminate further problems.

4) Online appraisals

The ability to use online appraisals within the same system as the absence data allows a manager to discuss any potential issues during the process. The knowledge of this can discourage employees from taking unnecessary absence, as it may affect the appraisal outcome. The more information about themselves that employees are able to use, the more they may wish to discuss at their appraisal. Absence patterns, environmental issues, disengagement and personal responsibilities are all potential reasons for non-genuine absence and can all be discussed at an appraisal, and any issues raised can potentially be resolved.

5) Publishing wellness initiatives

employee-sicknessUsing your self-service portal to publish notice of company initiatives is one way to promote health and wellbeing within the workforce. Sporting activities, fun days and gym memberships are just some of the ways in which you can increase employee engagement and drive down absence through the encouragement of fitness schemes and healthy lifestyle improvements.

By enabling employees to publish initiatives that they’ve devised, you’re increasing integration and collaboration within the company and allowing employees to encourage others to join them in their chosen activity, thereby increasing engagement and reducing potential future absence through avoidable illness, disengagement or unhappy employees.