Active Health Partners launches absence risk barometer

Active Health Partners (AHP) has launched an absence risk barometer to help employers quantify the risk of absence to business operations in their organisation.

The guide creates a simple risk estimate (SRE) for reasons of absence. This produces a risk profile for specific sectors, companies and departments, allowing employers to implement absence management strategies that are relevant, efficient and cost-effective.

Using an evidence-based approach, data was taken from AHP’s database of hundreds of thousands of absences, to compile a list of key primary indices of reasons for absence, such as mental health, musculo-skeletal and gastrointestinal to provide an insight into illness in specific industry sectors across corporate Britain. 

Calculated by multiplying the frequency of absence by the mean number of days of absence, the SRE allows companies to profile the risk that different types of employee absence has on business operations and allows organisations in different sectors to see how vulnerable they are to absence.

Bruce Robinson, chief executive of AHP, said: “Businesses are increasingly confronted by complex risk and employee absence has a very significant impact on an organisation’s operations. As such, it should be measured and managed in the same way as any other business risk. Through collating so much robust data and extrapolating the risk factor of specific absence indices, we can accurately assess the specific absence risks within most organisations in the UK.”

The first Absence Risk barometer reports key findings on absence on data taken in the 52 weeks to 30 June 2009 and also compares data from quarter two (April to June) 2009 to that from the same quarter in 2008. Each quarterly barometer will report on absence trends and examine data from the respective 12 month period and compare data from that particular quarter with the same period in the previous year. Each one will also include a case study, highlighting an organisation that has successfully reduced its employee absence figures.

The first report shows the amount of mental health absences in the Government sector has risen by 18.3% from April to June 2009, compared to the same period in 2008. This comes at a time when mental health absences are decreasing across other sectors. The mental health SRE for the sector for the 2008 quarter was 39.98 compared to 47.32 for the same timeframe in 2009, highlighting the impact of lost output due to this absence.

Robinson added: ”The risk profile for absences due to mental health across all other sectors has actually decreased by 19%, and the figures from this latest quarter are also showing a massive 30% decrease compared to the yearly average, so the increase in the Government sector is all the more significant.

“Mental ill health has been estimated to affect the productivity of those in work as well as causing significant absence. With the backdrop of the recession, the challenges felt by organisations has never been so intense.”