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Employee Well-Being Drops – Latest CIPD Survey


The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) latest Absence Management report quantifies the number of employee absences per annum in the United Kingdom (UK) for 2010. The average number of days absent per employee for the various sectors are: • public 9.6 days • non-profit 8.3 days • manufacturing and production 6.9 days • private 6.6 days Less than half of employers, the survey found, measure the cost of absenteeism. Those organizations that actively manage absences found the following strategies the most effective: • return-to-work interviews • trigger mechanisms to review attendance • disciplinary procedures for unacceptable absence • line managers equipped with information, skills and responsibility Although the public sector is less prone to use disciplinary action to reduce the level of absences compared with other sectors, that sector more often uses strategies to promote good health in an effort to reduce absenteeism. None the less, the global financial crisis has taken its toll on employee health and well-being. More than one in three employers reported an increase in stress-related absences and mental health problems. This is a significant increase from the one in five reported in the previous survey. Used with caution, the level of employee absences is one of a number of key indicators for employee engagement and worker productivity. By proactively monitoring and seeking to uncover the underlying causes of high absence levels, organizations can lift employee health and motivation. Reference Annual survey report 2010 - Executive summary

2 Responses

  1. Employee Well-being Drops….

    Really?? This post states that recent employee absenteeism has risen due to the increased stress of economic factors, etc., and then goes on to state that "disciplinary procedures for unacceptable absence" will help the situation???  These employees are already stressed and stretched to the max, and you’re going to add to their load by slapping them with a disciplinary procedure for an "unacceptable absence"??  Who determines what is unacceptable?  If an employee needs a "mental health day" because they feel like they are going to snap, are you then going to hit them with disciplinary action?  And you honestly think this "dark ages" management style will improve production??  It may get the employee to work a little more often, but their morale and energy level will be so low the productivity you receive will probably be negligible – and who can blame them?  More recent studies have shown that offering help, empathy, understanding and morale boosts will increase both attendance and productivity.  Just being at your desk does not equal productivity.

  2. Absenteeism and Disciplinary Procedures

    Thank you for your comments, pinhaid1. I think we are much closer in our thoughts than you think. Yes, the rise of employee absenteeism due to increased stress and mental health problems is a serious cause for concern and action. When I mentioned disciplinary procedures as a strategy for reducing absenteeism, this was but one of four strategies that I said organizations use to manage absenteeism levels.

    Here, I was reporting the results of the CIPD survey. I want to be clear on this. Organizations surveyed did not use this strategy as the only strategy. And I do not recommend this as the only strategy. Far from it! In my piece, I actually advise organizations to proactively monitor absence levels and seek to uncover the underlying causes. I even refer to absence levels as a key indicator of employee engagement and productivity. I have written on both these subjects at length in our blog at So, far from advocating a "dark ages", sledgehammer approach, I advise an enlightened approach with the aim of not punishing people under stress but to increase engagement levels, job satisfaction and productivity.

    Les Allan
    Managing Director
    Business Performance Pty Ltd

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