People, Leadership & Culture

Vitality & Absenteeism

Vitality & Absenteeism

"Average absenteeism in the Netherlands is on the rise, peaking at above 4% since 2018"

Many organisations see this trend as a major challenge and are working hard to reduce absenteeism. Absenteeism appears to be a formidable opponent, however, that still defeats many organisations using a conventional approach.

Highberg helps organisations to develop a different view of absenteeism, based on (absenteeism) data, and to combat absenteeism in a targeted manner. Relevant questions include: 

“What are the bottlenecks?”; “What are the root causes of absenteeism?”; “What are realistic target standards?”; “How much absenteeism should we anticipate on?”; “How can we optimally deploy absenteeism professionals?”; and “Which interventions are effective?

Irma Doze
Irma Doze

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Alex Hellemons
Alex Hellemons

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What is absenteeism and how does it relate to an absenteeism analysis?

Employees who are absent can’t perform the work that they are supposed to be performing. This definition of absenteeism is too generic, however, to be useful for an absenteeism analysis.

An absenteeism analysis zooms in on absenteeism to identify the main opportunities to reduce absenteeism. As such, it distinguishes between different types of absenteeism while taking into account the background, the duration and the frequency of the absenteeism.

As to background, a distinction can be made between medical and non-medical absenteeism. While medical absenteeism is hard to manipulate, non-medical absenteeism (e.g. work stress), which constitutes the majority of absenteeism in the Netherlands, can be influenced by employers. That is why this type of absenteeism is interesting for many absenteeism analyses, including, for example, analyses seeking to identify causes and at-risk groups.

As to duration, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) identifies several categories: short, medium, long and extra long. While most employers see battling long-term absenteeism as their main challenge, there are others who are more severely affected by frequent, short-term absenteeism. For an effective analysis of absenteeism, it is therefore essential to gain a proper insight into where exactly the absenteeism challenge arises, so as to focus the efforts.

In which ways can Highberg help you?

Highberg is a strong advocate of using absenteeism analyses to reduce absenteeism. At the same time, it is also desirable to have good old absenteeism reports. Next to that it is important to pinpoint the reasons for employee absenteeism; therefore, we recommend conducting engagement surveys as well.

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What are examples of absenteeism analysis that Highber offers?

How does an absenteeism analysis differ from standard absenteeism reports?

An absenteeism analysis is different from the conventional approach to absenteeism. Below are the three main differences between a data-driven absenteeism approach using absenteeism analysis and the average absenteeism report:

  • Big Data
    Various data sources are combined in an absenteeism analysis. These include absenteeism data from the absenteeism system, but also data from the personnel administration and, for example, employee surveys. In addition, historical data is incorporated alongside the current state of affairs. All this data is brought together into an initial dataset, from which new variables are created. This results in a dataset that may contain hundreds of variables.
  • Machine learning
    Once the data is collected, machine-learning techniques are used to extract patterns from the dataset. Where conventional HR reports manage to combine 2 or 3 variables in a cross table, machine learning looks at all of the variables simultaneously, yielding more profound insights.
  • Precision strike
    While a conventional approach to absenteeism is often like shooting with hail, an absenteeism analysis is more like a precision strike. A data-driven approach points absenteeism managers to the root causes, enables them to formulate targeted policy/action plans, helps case managers and company doctors to plan their schedules, provides managers with a realistic absenteeism standard to aim for and proves the effectiveness of absenteeism interventions (or the lack thereof).

Absenteeism reports & dashboards

As earlier mentioned it should not come as a surprise that Highberg is a strong advocate of using absenteeism analyses to reduce absenteeism. At the same time, it is also desirable to have good old absenteeism reports. An 4-quadrant absenteeism graph, for example, is a nice tool to determine the type of absenteeism on which an absenteeism analysis should focus. 

Below you can find some help and inspiration to address some of the basics regarding absenteeism reports.

What makes a good absenteeism report / dashboards?

Highberg has built absenteeism dashboards in good old Excel, but also in visualisation software such as Tableau, MicroStrategy and PowerBI.

A good absenteeism dashboard contains the proper key indicators, is intuitive and allows users to easily filter and compare data.

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Looking to use an absenteeism analysis to effectively reduce absenteeism?

Business Case: We help you to identify where exactly the absenteeism challenge arises, what it costs and how much you can save by addressing it.

Absenteeism analysis: Through an absenteeism analysis, Highberg helps to generate insights into the business case for absenteeism.

Absenteeism dashboard: Finally, Highberg creates the absenteeism reports / dashboards that measure the impact of the data-driven approach.

Engagement analysis: Highberg conducts employee engagement surveys to pin point what factors influence employee engagement and/or absenteeism

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