If so, then I expect this has been an agenda subject at your senior management meetings more than once. And I expect a number of strategies have been put forward to tackle the issue.
Let me guess. Those strategies will have been largely threat or punishment based. You know the sort of thing… if you’re off sick more than five days a year you will lose pay or benefits, or be put on some sort of discipline process. Or there will be the suggestion that a tough communication discipline be put in place—report in every hour that you’re still dying, please!
My view is that this approach is all about tackling the symptoms rather than effecting a cure. In other words, has anyone asked the question, “Why are so many of our people taking so much time off sick?”
Above average sick absence levels could reflect a host of problems with your organisation including:
- a lack of leadership from managers who have failed to indicate to the organisation that managing occupational health, safety and sick absence is a priority
- poor or non-existent training and support for line managers
- an absence of regular contact with those on sick leave that seeks to be supportive (rather than ‘checking up’)
- the need for a sub-division within your HR function that focuses on this problem and seeks to maintain a supportive working environment
- inadequate recording keeping and systems.
Of course, high levels of sick absence might reflect fundamental, ‘at core’ issues with the way your organization is run, the prevailing atmosphere and whether personnel have rewarding and properly targeted jobs.
A case of ‘note sick culture’ rather than ’sick note culture’—and time to do something about it.
Tags: absence atmosphere communication discipline core issues hr function jobs line managers management meetings occupational health safety priority senior management sick culture sick leave sick note suggestion time off working environment