7 tips to reduce sickies in your business

20 November 2017

Sickies are a real nuisance for any business. They’re costly, disruptive and take up management’s time. So, how do you reduce them?

It’s simple really – have the right policies and processes in place.

1. Set your stance

Make sure your policies and contracts clearly define what is and isn’t acceptable. If stated so in your contracts of employment, employees can be in breach of their contract by lying or exaggerating about an illness.

In this instance, you’d be within your rights to take the employee down your disciplinary process and, ultimately, dismiss them. Making employees aware of these consequences will inevitably deter them.

2. Record absences

Make sure you record all your employees’ sick days. This will give you a pool of accurate, written information, that can be used to identify patterns of absence.

With our online management platform – Atlas – tracking absence is easy. Simply log the date and it’ll be stored in an online calendar, for you to check wherever and whenever you want.

3. Request a phone call

We’d recommend you ask employees to call in sick over the phone. Why? Because it’s often harder to lie over the phone than it is via text or email, for example.

When they call in, ask what type of illness they have and what their predicted return date is. If, for whatever reason, an employee isn’t able to call in themselves, someone needs to do it on their behalf.

4. Return to work interviews

Because return to work interviews force employees to sit down and formally chat about their cause of absence, they can act as a deterrent.

During the interview, you should ask employees questions like:

  • How are you feeling now?
  • Is there any support you require from the business?

If you have any concerns over the employee’s absence, you should raise them during the interview, remind them of your expectations and of any consequences if improvements aren’t made.

5. Manage stress

According to research conducted by us, more than two in five employees who admitted to pulling a sickie said they did so because of stress.

While you might not be able to control stress that’s triggered from out-of-work situations, you can address any stress that might be attributed to work, and find a solution to reduce it.

6. Good managers

Our research uncovered that 11% of sickies are pulled because employees can’t face their manager – check out our case study for a deeper understanding of the knock-on effects of bad management.

Make sure your managers follow good practices, are strong communicators and have effective relationships with their colleagues, so that your employees don’t have reason to want to avoid them in the first place.

7. Don’t stand for bullying

Another finding from our research revealed that 5% of employees pulled sickies because they were being bullied.

To eliminate bullying from your business, make sure you:

  • Have a clear policy in place
  • Have a positive culture
  • Have strong values that are encompassed by everyone
  • Create a set-up whereby employees feel comfortable coming forward if they’re being bullied
  • Deal with bullies appropriately, so that everyone in the business knows it’s a matter you take seriously.

Sick of sickies?

If you need help with anything from managing absences and conducting return to work interviews, to disciplinary processes and contracts of employment, get in touch with our HR & Employment Law experts on 0345 844 1111.

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