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Short and long term absence management

Published on February 28, 2018   31 min
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Welcome to this talk in the Henry Stewart series, The Art and practice of first level management. I'm Dr. Helen Mortimore from Bristol Business School at the University of the West of England. In this session, we consider managing short and long term absence.
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We know that this is not an aspect of management that many first level managers relish, as it involves difficult conversations and requires time and confidence to be effective. This session will provide you with an overview of evidence based thinking and good practice. It also provides key questions. These questions are geared towards you developing an understanding of your organization practice in respect of managing absence. The questions may also prompt you to think about how your organizations approach could be improved. In the first part of the session, we will look at short-term absence, for example, when people have a few days off here and there. Short-term absence is usually defined as anything less than two weeks. We consider, why we need to manage absence? What types of absence are managed? The different reasons for absence. The causes and effects of presenteeism. How organizations manage absence and recommendations regarding good practice? And there is a short activity where we will look at absence patterns in a food manufacturing company.
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Interest in managing absence increased after the recession which started in 2008. This is in line with a focus on cost reduction and efficiency more broadly as budgets diminished. Simultaneously, in some countries, health levels are causing concern, and governments are expecting organizations to play a role in contributing to people's health and well-being. So, as well as wanting to control the costs and impact of absence as organizations, we may also need to think of how we provide healthy places to work, to support people to make good decisions about what they eat and whether they exercise, for example. Sometimes quite small health related incentives and perks can help us in competitive labor markets. Somewhat, places will offer free food or discounted gym membership for example. It's worth seeing what your major competitors offer if you are failing to attract talent.