Softworks Blog

Super Bowl Sickies – Are you missing any employees this morning?

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Feb 8, 2016

An estimated 117 million people watched The Denver Broncos defeat the Carolina Panthers last night. The final score of Super Bowl 50 was Denver Broncos 24 and Carolina Panthers 10. Interest in the Super Bowl is no longer confined to the United States. The Super Bowl has in fact become one of the fastest growing global businesses in the world. This year's event was broadcast or legally streamed in 230 countries worldwide.  According to sports research company Repucom back in 2011, 8.1% of people in the United Kingdom were interested in the NFL Super Bowl but this increased to 12.3% in 2015. That's an increase of 1.86 million fans.

With the Super Bowl comes Super Bowl parties which generally equate to Hot Dogs, Nachos, Chicken Wings and Beer and more Beer! Unfortunately for employers this leads to many people waking up the next morning with a whopping Super Bowl Hangover.  The event has long been linked with late nights and drinking and with late nights and drinking comes a high level of employee absence and lateness.   So as a business how do you combat this type of absence? Here are our top 6 tips on how to manage absence and lateness after a major sporting event.

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Top 6 tips on how to manage absence & lateness after a major sporting event.

Tip 1 - Turn unplanned absences into planned ones

Encourage your employees to book the day off rather than calling in sick. Some organisations now even offer “Duvet Days” where an employee gets one day a year that they can stay at home. They can plan this in advance of their absence. The only criteria being that employees can't all be out on the same day - so you might need to think about how to manage this great employee perk! 

Tip 2 - Combat lateness with flexible start and finish times

If feasible, offer flexible working start and finish times. Flexible working gives employees greater ownership and control of their own time and working hours enabling them to manage their social lives better. The are many business and financial benefits associated with offering flexible working arrangements including; better retention rates, reduced costs and improved productivity. If you would like to research this further download our free whitepaper - How to Strategically Use Flexible Working Arrangements to Benefit your Business.

Tip 3 - Use a carrot rather than a stick

Research shows that improvements in employee attendance can be achieved by making absence management an integral part of their overall company policy - by creating an Attendance Culture. Many organisations have discovered the benefits of shifting from a punitive approach of ‘absence control’, in favour of enlightened ‘attendance management’ strategies. These strategies aim to provide a working environment which maximises and motivates attendance. 

Tip 4 - Don't ignore absenteeism and ensure you managers are taking responsibility for their teams

Whether you decide to use the carrot or the stick method to manage absenteeism, the most important thing is that you have some procedure in place and that your managers are taking responsibility for managing it. Closing your eyes and hoping it will go away, will never work!  Organisations with the lowest absence rates are those where senior managers take responsibility for managing absence. Return-to-work interviews are one of the most effective absence management tools, followed by disciplinary measures. 

Tip 5 - Monitor employee sickness absence records for frequency and patterns
One quarter of all organisations do not even bother to keep absence statistics and as many as three quarters do not have any idea of the cost of absence to their organisation. The fundamental building block of any effective absence control programme is the availability of complete, accurate and timely information. Good records are vital to grasp the extent of the problem. Tightened attendance reviews have been proven to reduce employee sickness absence.

Tip 6 - Consider a new automated Time & Attendance System
Modern Time & attendance systems can help organisations manage absenteeism by providing them with the evidence needed to manage any issues. By the very virtue of what they do, time & attendance systems will store all details of hours worked, of all employees, and therefore all details of when they were not there, when they were late, left early or worked overtime. The reporting facilities enable organisations to produce reports, which can analyse absenteeism, by rating, frequency, reason, percentage, cost and the Bradford Factor, and can also create this information in graphical format if required, thereby giving the company the tools to manage any problems. They can become part of enlightened ‘attendance management strategies’ rather than the punitive ‘Big Brother’ approach of yesteryear, giving employees responsibility over their jobs and attendance.

The management of non-genuine sickness absence is about managing people. It is about their relationship to their jobs, their ambitions, their capacity and motivation to give their best, and their need for more than monetary affirmation. This is a challenge for employers when addressing absenteeism after major sporting events.  The trick is to recognise that there could be a problem and plan accordingly.  Early recognition, effective assessment and rapid intervention are key to managing these short-term absences and can prevent these absences from becoming problematic. Business owners, HR departments and managers alike need to be open to altering their approach and revising their policies to take account. 

Topics: Absenteeism, Automated Absence Management