The project

Kruidvat has been relying on Mensura for years for the development of a sustainable absence policy. The basis was already in place, but the absence coaching from Certimed took the retailer another step in the right direction. Coach Dana Paris had individual meetings with district manager Ann Giraldo and two of her branch managers in order to tackle their greatest challenge: improving the dialogue between branch managers and employees.

In the starring role

  • Bart Van den Bossche, HR business partner at Kruidvat.
  • Ann Giraldo, district manager at Kruidvat.
  • Dana Paris, absence consultant at Certimed.


Bart: “In recent years, Kruidvat has been increasing its collaboration with Mensura, for example, in training for confidential counsellors, tools for respectful collaboration and resilience training. We are also investing heavily in our absence policy.”

“As an employer you have various options to reduce absenteeism. However, creating a base of support for a positive approach is a step every organisation should take. This is why we offered our district managers absence coaching by Mensura and Certimed.”

“My tip for other organisations? Listen to your employees, otherwise initiatives relating to absenteeism – or any other topic – have little chance of success. After all, whichever way you look at it: the success of an organisation depends largely on the involvement of employees.”

Bart VDB

Creating a base of support for a positive approach to absenteeism is a step that every organisation should take.

- Bart Van den Bossche, HR business partner at Kruidvat

Ann: “As district manager, I am responsible for twenty branches in the Ghent district. Absenteeism is a big problem in certain stores. When I discuss this with the branch manager in question, I notice there are often serious obstacles to having a conversation with employees. This meant that my greatest challenge was to make absenteeism open to discussion.”

“In our individual meeting, Dana began with a short theoretical introduction, but we soon focused on tips to create positive discussions. How do you start a conversation? How do you show empathy towards employees? Therefore, the focus lay on a warm and business-like approach, and not only on the figures. The managers of two branches with lots of absence-related issues received the same coaching later on. We had contact with Dana afterwards, to evaluate the impact of the coaching.”

“And there certainly was an impact. I notice that the positive approach to absenteeism has now become automatic. The branch managers informed me that their employees now communicate more clearly and focus on solutions in case of absence. For me that’s a clear signal that the taboo relating to absenteeism is being broken down.”

Ann Giraldo

The coaching from Dana is certainly helping to break down the taboo relating to absenteeism.

- Ann Giraldo, district manager at Kruidvat

Dana: “Ann and the two branch managers were given the chance to ask all their questions on absenteeism. We soon moved on to ways to discuss absence. Afterwards, I discussed the conclusions of the absence coaching with Bart, so that he could integrate them into the general absence policy at Kruidvat.”

“A lack of dialogue about absenteeism is not only a challenge at Kruidvat. Absenteeism is a sensitive subject with a negative connotation. We almost always think of control and procedures, however, a positive and sustainable absence policy is so much more. The focus lies on the power of a warm and business-like discussion. Not only when employees return from sick leave, but also in the daily context.”

“The best way to approach absenteeism depends on the situation and can be discovered by talking and searching together for solutions. People at Kruidvat immediately made use of their tips. The benefits will have a positive impact on the entire team.”

Dana Paris

The focus lies on the power of a warm and business-like dialogue. Not only when employees return from sick leave, but also in the daily context.

- Dana Paris, absence consultant at Certimed