I’m really surprised that the latest ONS statistics on absence have not produced a more positive response in most of the media. Absence has reduced by 40% over the last 20 years. For full details click here
Establishing who or what is directly responsible for this improvement is not easy. However the massive rise of employee health and wellbeing up corporate, government and service provider agendas is surely the major influencing factor. Amongst so many other positive developments, we now have:
- Better thinking around the sourcing and implementation of health related services
- Improved delivery and co-ordination of services
- Greater understanding of the benefits of empathetic occupational health and absence management
- Growing number of dedicated wellbeing roles in both private and public sector
- Wide range of case studies and awards helping to establish best practice
- Specific state funded programmes
Whilst there is always room for improvement – the issue for me is why there has been very little change in the last two years and what has halted the momentum – we should take some time to acknowledge the efforts of so many involved in making a difference.
So I’d like to take time out to acknowledge the work at London Overground Rail Operations Limited (LOROL) as reported here
This is an organisation that has secured full union backing for their new approach to managing absence. You can read more in the article but what really grabbed my attention was this scenario:
“We had one employee who was off with chronic toothache. Within two hours we managed to get him an appointment with a private dentist. Results like that show everyone how committed we are to wellbeing,”
The team at LOROL intervened to help an employee in distress and also cut down on absence costs. Can you imagine this happening in this organisation a few years ago? Absolutely brilliant.