In the ever-evolving workplace, employee wellbeing has taken centre stage like never before. As highlighted in the recent BBC article on workplace absence policies, it’s crucial for organisations to prioritise the physical and mental health of their employees through well-structured absence management policies and proficient managerial skills.
According to a survey by the CIPD, the average number of sick days taken by employees has surged to 7.8 in the past year, up from 5.8 during the pandemic. This surge is clearly reflected in our HR helpline, with clients increasingly seeking advice on absence management in their workplaces.
In this blog post, we delve into why this trend is developing and explore various factors contributing to it. We’ll also provide recommendations to help business owners and managers better manage absences while highlighting how our training, specifically CMI, can equip managers with the skills to adapt to these rapid changes.
Why have we seen a rise in Absence in the Workplace?
Weak Labour Market: In a weak labour market, where job opportunities are scarce and competition is high, employees often have limited options for career advancement and growth within their current business.
Reduced Loyalty and Commitment: The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant impact on employee attitudes and their sense of loyalty and commitment to their current roles and employers.
Reluctance to Return: Despite the easing of lockdowns and the gradual return to normalcy, a significant number of employees continue to exhibit a reluctance to return to the physical workplace.
Unseen Challenges: Employees may be dealing with personal challenges such as mental health issues, stress, or caregiving responsibilities that are not immediately apparent to their employers but can significantly impact their ability to work consistently.
Tips for Effective Absence Management
Effective absence policies and procedures are the cornerstone of a healthy workplace. They serve as a guideline for managing employee absences, ensuring fairness and consistency while safeguarding the interests of both employees and the organisation.
To address the rise in absence management cases, businesses can take proactive steps to manage and mitigate the impact of absenteeism. Here are some recommendations:
Open Communication: Promote transparent and candid communication between managers and employees, fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns and sharing the challenges they face.
Flexible Work Arrangements: Flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible hours, have become increasingly important in today’s evolving work environment.
Mental Health Support: Recognising the importance of mental health, it is crucial for businesses to prioritise and invest in mental health initiatives to support their employees’ well-being.
Training and Development: Investing in training and development programs, such as CMI, can be highly beneficial for businesses aiming to adapt to changing employee attitudes and expectations.
Management Skills and Rapid Change
One crucial aspect often overlooked is the need for management skills to keep up with the rapid changes in employee attitudes toward work. Managers play a pivotal role in understanding and addressing the factors contributing to absenteeism. Investing in training and development programs like CMI can help managers adapt to these changes effectively. CMI diplomas equip managers with the leadership and management skills necessary to lead a diverse and evolving workforce.
The rise in absence management cases in the workplace is a reflection of the evolving nature of work in today’s world. Businesses must recognise the factors contributing to this trend and take proactive steps to address absenteeism while supporting their employees.
Investing in training programs like CMI not only equips managers with the skills needed to adapt to these changes but also helps create a more resilient and agile workforce. By understanding the underlying causes and implementing effective strategies, businesses can navigate the complexities of absence management in this rapidly changing landscape.