HR Show: Employers advised on how to tackle absence

Employers wanting to crack down on absence need to integrate benefits and services and assess the role line managers play in tackling the problem, according to speakers at the HR Show.

Speaking in the conference session Conquering absenteeism in the workplace, Vicki Broadhurst, manager of the health matters programme at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said line managers should work together with occupational health services and healthcare professionals, such as therapists to help employees to return to work after long-term sickness absence. Broadhurst also advised employers to make sure their policies on absence were clear and well communicated. She also suggested they conduct a review of the benefits currently offered by providers. 

“It’s about making sure your providers know what your expectations are. Review what you are getting from providers and make sure providers know your organisation”, she said. 

Louise Hadland, HR and facilities management director at Shoosmiths, said line managers, who can sometimes cause absence, have an important role to play in reducing it. She went on to point out that managers need to be informed of the benefits to be gained from tackling absence.  

“We have got to be clearer about what we want to achieve. We need to be able to describe the benefits to a line manager,” she said. 

Hadland also suggested that employers collected statisstics on absenteeism, which could be released to line managers before appraisals and pay awards.