Posted on by Jessica Peaty

The Real Cost of Absenteeism

In today’s fast paced business world, there’s more emphasis than ever on productivity. One of the key drivers to greater output is a happy, engaged and of course, present workforce. Work absence levels have improved over recent years, but recent figures from The CBI still reveal an annual £14bn cost to the UK economy due to absence, with 1 in 8 reported sick days being disingenuous.

Meanwhile, the HSE has reported that on average each year 169,000 people are off work for up to 7 days with a self-reported injury, while a massive 453,000 people self-reported and stayed off for up to 6 days.

These staggering figures highlight a real gap in how we manage and monitor absence. With better understanding and the right tools, sickness can be used as a clear indicator to general staff wellbeing and engagement, in turn helping to look after and manage the workforce more effectively.

The true effect of absence

Absenteeism hits businesses hard in numerous ways. A loss of money is just one aspect.

The impact it has on colleagues is significant, which in turn damages productivity. Not only by critically reducing the numbers in a team, but also through the added pressure this puts on the remaining workforce, and the psychological effect this has. The people left behind may feel resentment at the increased pressure, in turn influencing mood and engagement levels, leading to a higher risk of further absences in a chain like effect.

Add to this the time it takes to process sickness, potentially finding staff replacements and rehabilitation management, and the HR costs mount up. Again, impacting the bottom line of any business.

But with a proactive approach to uncovering the underlying causes you’ll be able to identify sickness trends, helping you to tackle the issues effectively, intelligently and head on.

A proactive approach

One way to nurture a positive workplace is by getting to know your staff from a big data level to expose trends, and on a personal level.

HR software will help you to monitor staff effectively through streamlining essential functions. This has a dual advantage. It automates aspects like payroll and absence records, so you save time and money on processing sickness. And it means you can concentrate on being more proactive and understanding the people that make up your business.

Software like Selima’s also helps managers, which in turn helps you. There can be a tendency to report absences haphazardly, or not at all when left to team leaders. With an easy to use software system, accurate sickness documentation not only saves the HR department time, it also means you’ll have clean data when it comes to analysing and measuring team engagement through indicators like absence.


Through an intelligent, forward thinking approach and an easy to use workflow process, you can counter the problem of absenteeism proactively.

This saves the HR function time and money, and puts the power in your hands to work with the people in your business in the most effective way. Connecting with them and understanding their motivators for a happier, more productive workforce.

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