By Jason Taylor, Commercial Director FirstCare

With the cost of absence estimated to exceed £17 billion per year, absence management can help. Here are 10 tips when considering absence management to reduce absenteeism and ensure the success of your company.

1. Be prepared for rising rates

The main reason for focusing on effective absence management is to provide a fair, consistent and compliant service to all your employees from the Chief Executive down. Absence is likely to have been poorly recorded and therefore artificially low. Don’t be worried if an Absence Management provider shows a rise in workplace absence, it’s simply revealing your real rate of absence.

Measure the cost of absence

Before switching to an absence management provider you must try to understand your cost of absence. Sick pay, replacement staff, incorrect payroll, loss of client revenue and admin time; it all adds up. Only when this is known can an absence management provider be effectively judged.

3. Be ready for evolution

It is important to know that the service that starts with you on day one will not always be relevant to your needs, as your organisation changes you need a service that adapts accordingly.

4. Know your absence policy

Using a partner to manage your absence ensures your policies are being used consistently across your business. Covering items such as, return to work compliance, sick pay authorisation and long term absence procedures will enable you to treat everyone fairly.

5. Set your own objectives

You must be clear on what success looks like for your organisation. Always review and be focused on what is really happening. Target key areas of improvement and continually strive for better results.

6. Integrate it

In order to maximise benefits it is best to incorporate day one absence services with other existing services, including internal health and wellbeing programs.

7. Protect yourself

Ensure that all employee data is protected. It is vital to engage with your IT department to ensure that the service is in line with your security guidelines. Arrange for any audit/compliance checks that assure staff their data is safe.

8. Check references

A failure to take up adequate references prior to entering a contract with a new supplier can be extremely costly, especially when service issues inevitably arrive.

9. Be prepared for change

With new methods comes great change. The new process will bring new expectations, new responsibilities and new levels of transparency that employees will need to adjust to.

10. Understand your needs

Different people need different things, the main sponsors are; the organisation (senior sponsor), line managers, employees and human resources.