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Staff Absence – How Do I Measure It?

Staff absence in the UK costs businesses a staggering £12 million a year and worryingly less than 40% of business surveyed actually measure it and therefore don’t know what it’s costing them.

At EmployEasily HR Services Scotland we specialise in providing cost effective HR Services that deliver a positive return on investment.  We can design and implement tools that will help you to measure the cost of staff in your business then help you manage it to reduce them.

So how can you measure staff absence?

Well there are primarily three ways staff absence can be measured, they are:

‘Lost time’ rate: This is most common measure of absence. It expresses the percentage of total time available which has been lost due to absence.  It can be calculated separately for individual departments or groups of employees to reveal particular absence problems.

‘Frequency’ rate: This method shows the average number of absences per employee, expressed as a percentage. It does not give any indication of the length of each absence period, or any indication of employees who take more than one spell of absence.  By counting the number of employees who take at least one spell of absence in the period, rather than the total number of spells of absence, the calculation gives an individual frequency rate.

‘Bradford Factor’: The Bradford Factor identifies persistent short-term absence for individuals, by measuring the number of spells of absence, and is therefore a useful measure of the disruption caused by this type of absence.  The trigger points used in this method will differ between companies and as for all unauthorised absence; the underlying causes will need to be identified.

The way staff absence is measured will differ depending on what each business’s needs are but one thing that is consistent across all businesses is that unless staff absence is measured business owners / managers have no way of working out exactly how much money staff absence is costing them!

Remember, measuring staff absence is only half the story………….to reduce your costs and absence levels you need to effectively manage staff absence.

If you’d like more information on how effective HR Services can help you to reduce your costs and manage your staff absence issues more effectively visit the main EmployEasily website or call us locally in Glasgow on 0141 572 8427 or from anywhere outside Glasgow on 0845 642 2009.


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