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Mel Ashworth
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Improving attendance and well being

In its annual survey on absence and well being, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) calculated that absence cost the UK £17bn in 2010 with an average of 6.5 days absence per employee. The cost is one thing but the biggest impact is felt day in and day out in lost productivity and additional pressure on colleagues.

Reducing absence will improve profitability saving on the costs associated with absence; sick pay, additional hours, potential lost business and potentially confidence from customers and clients in your services.

Actively managing absence reduces the stress and time spent covering those who fail to report for work as well as improving general morale. Employees will see that managers and supervisors are being fair, consistent and transparent in dealing with attendance issues. Importantly, it will improve service to customers.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and CBI in their annual surveys reports that 95% of organisations have an attendance management policy and that the most effective approach for reducing absence is return to work interviews (RTWI’s). Line Managers are key to the successful implementation of a company policy and they should be encouraged to identify the reasons for individuals’ absences via RTWI’s. Identifying the causes of absence gives information from which they can instigate targeted initiatives that will improve the working environment for everyone. The implementation of a fair, consistent, transparent and objective method of managing attendance will build faith in and respect for the management.

It will also help to reinforce the value of employees to the business and reduce levels of short term unauthorised absence.

"There has been a gradual increase over the past few years in the proportion of organisations with an employee well-being strategy in place" (CIPD Report 2012) Introducing and implementing attendance management processes will allow your company to take a proactive approach to employee well-being. It provides a structure for early identification of situations that may be classed as disabilities; ensuring that time is given to those on long term sick, helping them back to work where possible; identifying those who have personal issues that prevent them from attending on time and/or when required. It also helps by reinforcing the importance to the business of good levels of attendance.

There is strong evidence to show how having a healthy workforce can reduce sickness absence, lower staff turnover and boost productivity – this is good for employers, workers and the wider economy.

It has been proved that by improving the health of the workforce this improves productivity and the overall health of the business

Top Tips:
• Establish/review and introduce an Attendance Management Policy
• Train supervisors and managers to implement the policy confidently and consistently
• Ensure the system is implemented and monitored fairly and consistently
• Make sure you encourage a sense of caring about employees well being over cautioning them for absence.
• Be flexible if possible around the individuals' personal needs
• Continually review the policy and levels of absence
• Educate on health/well being issues
• Encourage well-being activities like fun runs, sponsored walks, stop smoking support, health screening, healthy eating advice.

British Chambers of Commerce are concerned with UK absenteeism, productivity and UK competitiveness. At the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce event on Tuesday 19th March 2013, ‘Making a Case for Health and Wellbeing’ Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work, made the following comment…’Health, wellbeing engagement and productivity, the case is getting stronger all the time.

Louise Bennett OBE, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and a leader of the Coventry Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) the Work and Health Project, which brings different aspects of health, had this to say about Making a Case for Healthy Eating:

• People who do not eat breakfast are less productive than those who do
• Healthy employees are up to 3 times more productive…
• The average cost of sickness per employee is £78 per day
• Providing employees with easier access to a healthy lifestyle makes them feel valued… The health and profitability of the business can be improved and therefore an improvement in business prospects too.

With recent research conducted within a group of 50 employees eating a healthy balanced diet the findings were these;
1. 80% reported a marked increase in energy
2. 75% reported improved sleep
3. 90% reported improved weight management
4. 85% reported a marked increase in engagement with the company
5. 85% reported an increase in general health and wellbeing

Health and wellbeing is now being recognised as having a vast impact on people and their performance in the workplace. How we feel directly relates to how we work. At last the fundamentals of a healthy balanced diet are being taken seriously. Food is our personal fuel. Think of it this way; you wouldn’t put diesel into a Ferrari and expect to get out of the filling station! Therefore we cannot fill our own tanks with empty calories and expect high octane performance.

Most of us are only as good as our last meal or snack. This does not mean that you have to become the ‘food police’, far from it. It means that providing an education to help people make good choices is what is necessary. A little education goes a long way.

Call now for help with:
Creating an attendance management policy
Implementing an attendance management policy
Carrying out return to work interviews
Electronic attendance management systems
Well being buzz sessions

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