48% take steps to discourage presenteeism


Around half (48%) of employer respondents have taken steps to discourage presenteeism, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Simplyhealth.

The 2016 Absence management survey, which surveyed 1,000 employers, also found that 72% of respondents have observed presenteeism in their organisation, and 29% have witnessed an increase in presenteeism over the last 12 months.

The research also found:

  • 28% of respondents include line managers taking primary responsibility for absence management in their top three most effective approaches for managing short-term absence, and 20% believe this is an effective approach for managing long-term absence.
  • Less than half (44%) of respondents train line managers in handling short-term absence, and 38% of respondents provide training for managers around long-term absence.
  • 35% of respondents have a wellbeing strategy or programme in place at their organisation, compared to 57% who do not have a formal policy but instead have individual wellbeing initiatives or act on an ad-hoc basis.
  • 46% of respondents report an increase in their organisation’s focus on wellbeing over the last 12 months.
  • Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents have increased their focus on wellbeing  because they want their organisation to be a great place to work, 47% cite their organisation’s belief that wellbeing is linked to business performance as the reason for increasing their focus on wellbeing, and 43% have done so because they believe it is the right thing to do.
  • 64% of respondents have improved communications to staff about the wellbeing benefits available to them and how to access these.
  • 37% of respondents that invest in employee wellbeing have increased their wellbeing spend over the last 12 months.

Dr Jill Miller (pictured), research advisor at the CIPD, said: “Line managers are usually the first port of call on health and wellbeing issues within their team, and make day-to-day decisions about work allocation and staffing arrangements. They therefore need to have both the competence and confidence to consider the wellbeing of the individuals they manage, and help shape the work environment to suit their needs.

“This is a serious responsibility that should be built into their job role, rather than an add-on, so they can invest the time in building their capabilities, and with an emphasis on their own wellbeing as well as their teams.”

Corinne Williams, head of HR at Simplyhealth, added: “It’s clear that employee wellbeing is moving up the agenda in many organisations and that successful interventions are being seen as having a positive effect on employee health, engagement and, ultimately, attendance. With the UK having an increasingly ageing workforce that spends more time at work than ever before, and often juggles a range of social, caring and family responsibilities, there’s a greater need to focus more seriously on the role employers can play to help improve both the physical and mental health of their workforce.”