Reducing absenteeism needs good line management


All the absence management initiatives in the world won’t be effective if central government cannot tackle the low levels of trust and satisfaction displayed by public sector employees.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the government urgently needs to focus on training line managers and supervisors to implement existing qualities, monitor workloads and encourage motivation within their teams.

A new report by the CIPD's into employee attitudes at work, Employee Well-being and the Psychological Contract 2004, suggests that particular problems exist in central government, where employees report lower levels of satisfaction with their work than their counterparts in the NHS and local government.

However the report also contains some good news. Public sector organisations appear to be the place to work with employees generally more trusting and feeling more satisfied, committed and motivated than the private

Motivation amongst public sector employees has been steadily increasing over the years and employees are now eight per cent more motivated than private sector staff.

According to Mike Emmott, CIPD Employee Relations Adviser, this turnaround maybe a reflection of the fact more funding is going into public services and better line management.

But he added: "If employees don’t trust their employer, or don’t feel they are being treated fairly, this will be reflected in their lack of commitment.

"Effective line management is the key to controlling absence, whether in the public or private sector. A good line manager makes people want to come to work in the morning. It is this that will gain trust from employees, reduce absence and improve productivity."

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Workplace wellness is also very important part of ensuring the continuation of productive and healthy employees. Implementing systems to determine absence trends and factors that affecting a workforce, employers become aware of issues plaguing their employees. Employees who suffer from chronic illnesses can obtain assistance or moved to more suitable tasks, reducing the decline in income when placed on disability benefits. Two of the largest Health Districts in BC have taken steps to implement procedures that assist in determining factors affecting their staff. The hosted StaffRelay Employee Absentee Notification System has been implemented to work in tandem with their Early Intervention Program to provide assistance to staff who require it.

Shauna Caldeira Edmonton Alberta Canada