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Reasons why in-house absence management doesn’t work

Posted by James Arquette on 12/02/16 13:20

There are several reasons why many organisations choose to deal with their absence management internally. Many believe it’s the only way to guarantee their sensitive information is managed appropriately and confidently.While others, believe it’s easier to stay with their existing processes than introduce new ways of working (which inadvertently involves new policies, new processes, new ways of thinking, and so on…).

There are countless reasons for companies to get their absence management right. For example, it can reduce the risk of employment tribunals associated with absences being managed poorly, unfairly or inconsistently. It can also improve productivity (due to fewer staff being off work) and lower costs (due to less overtime and replacement staff etc.)

However, given the advantages of successful absence management, some in-house systems can, and do, often fail. Here are just three of the main reasons why:

REASON 1: Insufficient HR resource

To get the best possible results from your absence management, you need to dedicate adequate time and resource to it. However, many organisations simply don’t have the HR manpower to ensure they can manage every single absence consistently, fairly and effectively.

REASON 2: Lack of compliance monitoring

Most companies tend to have absence policies and procedures in place, but lack a system that gives them a clear indication of how well they are following compliance.

REASON 3: Not enough data

While most internal systems are great at providing you with information at your fingertips, very few are capable of producing real-time data. Where data is produced, it’s often too late in the day to be used to make timely and informed decisions.

So, what’s the alternative? While outsourcing your absence management might seem like a whole lot of hassle you could do without, it’s incredibly easy to set up and there are actually a lot of benefits to be gained from going down this route. For instance, outsourced absence management teams spend 100% of their time monitoring and continually improving absence management practices and reducing absence levels. It’s an approach that enabled Somerset County Council’s Learning Disabilities Service to significantly cut its sickness absence by 25%, generate £700,000 and improve its Bradford Factor Score.

You’ll also find that the most effective outsourced absence management companies tend to have clients across a variety of sectors. This means they’re better able to compare and contrast different approaches to common absence trends. They can also provide advice and guidance based on their sector insight and in line with the latest industry trends.

What’s more, good absence management specialists can also help increase line manager compliance with key activities, such as return to work interviews, alert investigations and duty of care considerations. This, in turn, helps reduce the risk of tribunals and costly mistakes from occurring.

Are you up to speed with the Government’s Fit for Work scheme? Do you know the potential stumbling blocks to watch out for? Or the key questions employers should ask themselves?

Discover the answers to these questions, and more, by reading our blog, ‘Fit for Work: Key considerations for employers.’

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