Carrots can go a long way to reducing absence at work, says KPMG

Carrots can go a long way to reducing absence at work

There is evidence to suggest that if an organisation's culture is based on trust, employees are more inclined to go the extra mile with absence levels reduced.

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Dubbed 'National Sickie Day', the first Monday in February is the day of the year which traditionally sees the highest number of workers calling in sick, compared to any other Monday during the year. The accepted view is that a combination of wintry weather, post-Christmas blues and a long wait until the next holiday combine to persuade employees that an unplanned day off is the best option.

Yet, according to Ingrid Waterfield, a director in KPMG’s People Powered Performance team, “absence levels can be reduced if organisations adopt a carrot approach towards their staff”.

She says: “Wielding a stick and threatening punitive action if an employee takes unplanned and unwarranted absence rarely works.  There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that it can have the opposite effect, with employees less likely to give their all if they are not treated as adults.  Instead, it’s better to introduce something as simple as ‘return to work’ interviews along with guidance on calling your line manager if you are ill.

“If an organisation’s culture is based on trust, with employees given respect and a degree of latitude, the likelihood is that they will be more inclined to go the extra mile for their employer.  Recognising that people can’t always perform to their maximum capability will help foster stronger relationships between employers and their employees.”



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About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.9 billion in the year ended September 2014. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 162,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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