Compassionate absence management can 'significantly impact' on employer brand, report finds


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A compassionate approach to absence management can have a “significant impact” on an employer’s reputation, according to the initial findings of a forthcoming report commissioned by Ellipse, the specialist group risk insurer.

Sick Notes, by Ellipse in association with Cary Cooper, distinguished professor of organisational psychology and Health at Lancaster University, found substantial majorities of workers and line managers alike say they believe absence management is an important factor in the way they view their employer and its ability to attract and retain talent.

Seven in ten (72%) workers say the way a company treats sick employees has an impact on their feelings towards the company. This sentiment is most keenly felt by younger people, with 85% of 18 to 24 year olds saying it is important, compared with 63% of those over 55. A mere 15% of employees say it has no impact at all.

At the same time, the vast majority of line managers (80%) agree that absence management affects the organisation's ability to attract and retain and employees.

Commenting on the initial findings, Cooper, said: "After asking both employees and line managers for their views, the responses lead to the conclusion that effective absence management is highly valued. Winning a reputation for looking after people will benefit employers in the war for talent.

"Increasingly, employees expect their employers to invest in their wellbeing and it is no longer a 'nice to have', particularly at a time when there is less headroom to increase salaries.

"Employees want to feel confident their employers have their best interests at heart. Businesses should be seeking to embed wellbeing and absence management in their culture, regardless of their size, ambitions or industry."

The Sick Notes report will be published in full on 1 February.

Research was conducted from 29 November to 6 December 2011 with 250 line managers in SMEs employing up to 300 people and 1,003 employees of SMEs employing up to 300 people.


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