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Chris Mooney (Chartered MCIPD)

Right Trax Training Ltd

Learning & Development Consultant

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Absence Management – scenarios, roleplays and case study request??


Hello all,

I am delivering a 1 day course on AM and have scoped the outline, which we have agreed to keep very practical and interactive.  As you can imagine it will cover things like what managers need to know, the process, the legislation, etc etc, as well as practical activities throughout.

Firstly, I want to include a number of scenarios, roleplays and case studies and wondered if anyone has anything they could offer (either suggestions or material happy to share), or useful places to look?

Secondly, from everyone's experience, do you have any suggestions of other things I could be doing to bring this alive and make it really participative?  I've read through previous posts on Any Answers and have seen great ideas like asking them to imagine it's their business, running through a cost calculator example with them and so on.  This is great food for thought so I'm interested in other great ideas.

Thanks in advance.


8 Responses

  1. Absence Mgt


    Drop an e mail to my colleague William – an employment/equality law anorak lol – and he will be glad to help. He has scenarios, you the jury cases etc etc. His e mail is [email protected]




    QED Training

  2. Absence Management

    Hi Chris

    I have some useful scenarios and information on Absence Management that I have shared with other Training Zone colleagues

    Drop me an e mail and I will forward it to you

    [email protected]



  3. Ice Breaker Idea – Absence Management

    Hi Chris

    Here’s an idea for free that I have used before, and its fun, appealling to the competitive nature of teams. Particularly useful if you have issues with unplanned absence:

    Materials: (total quantities depend on group size)

    Plain A4 paper

    Sellotape, cut into 1 inch strips

    Some blu-tack, rolled into marble-sized balls

    Small prize for the winner



    Introduce as a fun exercise to get the group going. Split the group into several smaller groups and give each 10 sheets of A4, 5 strips of sellotape, 3 pieces of blu-tack and a pen.

    Explain that the objective is to use these materials (and ONLY these materials) to build the tallest free standing tower (must stand for at least 1 minute unsupported).

    Explain they are NOT allowed to start building until you give the word – they now have 10 minutes to plan how they will build the tower (they may sketch, talk, discuss etc, but NO building yet!).

    At the end of the 10 minutes, stop them and explain that they are about to get into the building stage. BUT before they can start, go round the tables and remove, at random, selected materials from each group (e.g group !loses 3 bits of sellotape, 2 pieces of A4 and a ball of blu-tack, group 2 loses 4 pieces of A4 and 1 piece of sellotape, group 3 loses all its blu-tack and so on). Get ready for cries of derision and ‘not fair’ – you will be the most despised person in the room at this point!

    They now have 5 minutes to build their tower at which point you will stop the clock and see which tower stands the longest. Prize for the winner of course.

    Debrief points:

    Key message – how disruptive was it to have some of your resources taken away – impact on plans/performance/morale/stress? Frantic, reactive behaviour, frustration etc etc

    Unplanned absence is like this – how often do your plans for the day go awry because somebody on your team has called in sick, or even worse, gone AWOL?

    How might you have used the 10 mins ‘planning’ differently if you knew that some of your resources would be taken away? How many finished planning early, confident they had it ‘nailed’ with their design, only to have this confidence stripped away from them?

    What if – we could anticipate potential absence and contingency plan around this?

    What if – we could have found back-up resources to stand-in?

    What if – we had a robust process to minimise this disruption, and deal with repeated issues?

    Anyway, hope this helps.

    Good luck!


  4. ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’

    Another idea –

    When talking about managing the absence management process, I have found that people can be a little complacent – dealing with malingerers, extended absence for a broken leg, even bereavement, are things that they may feel familiar/comfortable with, or at the very least anticipate. Shock tactics (i.e. prepare for the worst) can be useful here to head off any complacency. In a previous life I was a Personnel Manager (true story this), and was conducting an absence review with an employee who had gone AWOL for a day, then contacted us to say he could not come in for a week for ‘personal reasons’. His attendance record was not particularly great and both I and his line manager pretty much went into the meeting thinking he was most likely to get a formal warning. When we asked the question ‘What was the reason for your latest absence’, the emotional and rather angry reply came back ‘My daughter was raped and I was dealing with the aftermath’. As you can imagine, the rest of the discussion took a very different approach and we of course focussed on supporting the employee. Rather blindsided us, but was a good wakeup call in terms of keeping an open mind. I have shared this story since at absence Management workshops and have found it very effective and getting people to sit up and listen!


  5. Thank you all!

    Thank you all so much for those offers of help and for the great ideas (defo going to use!), I’m so grateful!

  6. Free resources on ABC training

    Hi Bryan

    thank you for providing the information regarding the resources that ABC provide free. One of them on the free list is entitled ‘Management Case Studies’ but then asks for £30 – is this correct or is it supposed to be free?


    Claire S

Author Profile Picture
Chris Mooney (Chartered MCIPD)

Learning & Development Consultant

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