Absenteeism is one of the most persistent obstacles to productivity, profitability and competitiveness. Organisations measure employee absence in a number of ways - including and excluding different types of absence. As a result, one company may have a higher absence rate than another organisation, simply because it includes more non-sickness variables when measuring absence.
Many companies fail to distinguish clearly between short-term and long-term absence which can have serious implications to both the organisation's understanding and management of absence issues. Short term absences are often considered more disruptive than long term absences, due to the fact that it’s often easier to make arrangements to cover an employee who is going to be off for long periods. That said, long term absence can be extremely costly to an organisation, therefore it’s very important to track both. One tool that is often used to measure short term absences is; The Bradford Factor.
The Bradford Factor is effectively a formula for measuring employee absence. It measures the number of absence incidents and the duration of each incident, to compute an absence score for each employee. The more absences an employee takes, the higher the score. Therefore, an employee who is absent for 12 days in a row has a much lower Bradford score than an employee who is absent on 12 separate days during the year (e.g. one Monday every month). The score can then be used to monitor trends in sickness absence, to provide ‘trigger’ points for further investigation or action and to offer comparisons with absence rates across the organisation as a whole.
The Bradford Factor was first developed in the 1980s and has caused some debate over the years. It was originally designed to be used as part of the overall investigation and management of absenteeism. Therefore, it should always be used as part of your overall absenteeism strategy and not as a stand-alone method of tracking and responding to absenteeism issues.
We have just published a short guide to The Bradford Factor that you are very welcome to download via this link.
In this free guide we explain, how the Bradford Score is calculated, how and why is it used within organisations and the pros and cons of using.