Absence – bad data worse
than no data
Basic operational problems
undermine efforts to tackle the cost and burden of absence. HR is urged to tackle data management and
process issues to build an effective platform for strategic absence management initiatives.
Efforts to reduce the high costs associated with absence will be undermined if
organisations fail to address fundamental problems managing their data and key business processes,
according to a new research report.
The report, published by Webster Buchanan Research in
association with Computers in Personnel, points out that much of the focus in
absence management today falls rightly on the need to develop an effective absence
strategy. This includes; preventative well-being programmes, occupational
health, prompt intervention policies and consistent disciplinary procedures.
But the report called “Managing absence: the missing
links” argues that these initiatives will be hard to execute unless
organisations have first established a strong operational framework, built
around effective data management, processes and procedures. It points out that
inefficient manual processes and poor information management can hinder everything
from the way individual absence cases are managed to long-term trend analysis.
Webster Buchanan Research suggests that effective
absence management is a combination of ten strategic and operational
activities. Strategic approaches include defining policies, establishing
preventative measures and analysing trends, while operational measures include
distributing information, managing individual interventions and overseeing
costs. The report points out that an absence management strategy cannot be
executed effectively without putting these operational components in place.
This doesn’t need to be costly. In fact, the report
argues that most organisations will already have some of the key components in
place, even if they’re not necessarily taking advantage of them today. With
absence estimated by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to
cost on average £692 per employee per year, or almost £350,000 per year for a
500 employee company .
Chris Berry, managing director of Computers In
Personnel. “By automating manual processes, gathering relevant data from the
very beginning of an absence episode and distributing it quickly and
efficiently, organisations can handle short-term and long-term absence far more
13 November 2009