10 Tips to Manage Staff Absence Effectively Over the Winter Months

Absence in the winter months amongst your staff is often inevitable, with it being a peak time for illnesses and holidays booked.

Here, our HR business partners Fusion HR provide their top tips on improving absence during this time.

1. Ensure your attendance management policy is thoroughly developed

Your staff need to be made aware and understand the company’s attendance management policy. All members of staff need to know the exact route to take if they are ever sick or are in a situation which is preventing them going into work, such as who is the first point of contact, what time they need to be contacted by and what information they need to provide.

 2. Consider non-medical absences and include these into your attendance management policies and procedures

In the winter months the weather may play a big part in employees being unable to attend work, do your employees understand the procedures if they are absent for non-medical reasons? Your policy needs to also highlight the procedures for when someone requires time off for dependants.  If staff members are aware of the circumstances when requiring time off for dependants they will be less likely to provide a false reason for their absence such as sick leave, which will also affect the company’s absence statistics.

 3. Set yourself realistic targets

You will need to set targets to measure your absence levels and it may be a good idea to make your employees aware of this too. It is important to measure how you’re doing to spot any improvements.

 4. Monitor

Following the previous point once you measure your staff attendance you will be able to analyse this information and see and identify any patterns or trends. Spotting patterns may allow you to plan for future absence and prepare help prepare for shortages which will also minimise the impact on your business.

 5. Staff involvement

Ensure all managers/supervisors in the business are aware of the absence management process so that they can act as ambassadors for the procedures. They should also have direct access to the absence statistics to see any immediate issues that may arise and resolve them early. 

 6. Return to work discussion

This could be your most effective tool, it is important to carry out return to work discussions after every absence, regardless of the length.

 7. Setting ‘trigger points’

Measuring staff absence is important also because it enables you to set trigger points. This will inform you when absences become unacceptable for any trend you may set for example more than a certain number of absences over a certain time period. This will also allow you to take a more formal route. – Unsure about trigger points? Meet our SAM system!

 8. Be proactive with long term absence

Long term absence can be classed as anything 4 weeks+. Make sure you keep in regular contact with the team member checking they are ok. It might be a good idea to meet with them, get a real understanding of the situation and establish when they may return to work.

 9. Be aware of any long term damage

In the case of long term absence, seek the advice of a medical professional to establish any possible long term effects.

 10. Be Proactive

Looking after your staff can help reduce absence levels in the first place, if you are aware of certain trends in your employee absence such as high levels of sickness due to flu, you may find it beneficial to look into flu vaccinations for staff members.

If you have any questions regarding staff absence please don’t hesitate to speak to a member of the team on 01254 355688 or email [email protected]


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