The self-reinforcing effect...

A targeted absenteeism policy will permanently reduce your absenteeism figures. "But it doesn't have to stop there," says Bart Teuwen, absenteeism expert and Managing Director of Certimed. “An absenteeism policy can also have a self-reinforcing effect.

"Suppose a company succeeds in reducing absenteeism in a particular aspect of the organisation. We often notice that this success spreads like an oil slick. Others are stimulated to do just as well. Success provokes success. An absence action then causes a chain reaction through your entire organisation."

"Employees adopt the positive message of the policy. But more than that, they then become ambassadors of the policy for other employees and their external environment, which also attracts new talent."

... and the transformative effect

Your absence policy can also have a transformative effect. "A new culture will emerge, which reconciles prosperity and well-being. This combination boosts productivity, innovation and health, motivating employees and uniting them behind the common goal of the organisation."

The self-reinforcing and transformative effect can only be achieved if you set the right priorities in your absenteeism policy from the outset and stick to them. With these 3 keys you can open the right doors:

Key 1: Give yourself the time you need to shape your policy
"It seems obvious, but too few companies realise that they can reduce absenteeism themselves with a well thought-out policy. Only 1 in 3 companies has procedures and agreements concerning absenteeism. At the same time, the number of long-term sick people has never been so high and a war for talent is raging. A focus on absenteeism and sustainable positive employability is indispensable."

So be ambitious, but at the same time give your organisation time to grow in a changing approach to absenteeism. "Because an absenteeism policy with a self-reinforcing and transforming effect is not created overnight. The return on investment is therefore not immediately visible. Be patient when working out a policy step by step and let it evolve, even if the results take time."

Make your absenteeism policy a priority! Is there a lack of time in your organisation? Then change your priorities and call in an external expert. It shortens your learning curve and speeds up your approach."

Key 2: invest in a positive and measurable impact on absenteeism
Reducing absenteeism requires an efficient and productive approach. And investments. "But because reducing absenteeism takes time, it is crucial that management continues to make absenteeism a priority. And also allocate the necessary resources for it."

“So facilitate the approach with technology and tools. After all, you need figures - across levels and departments - to determine the first steps. Moreover, you can also give clear feedback on the results achieved."

"Use software for that. It generates reports proactively and in real time, and captures upcoming problems as early as possible. The figures and signals that the software collects are further interpreted and analysed by employees. The software calculates, then people look for the connections. On the basis of these relationships, you can set out actions in time and adjust the policy. And managers can start conversations within their team."

Key 3: adopt a friendly business approach
Within a friendly business dialogue, you speak to the employee about employability instead of absenteeism. "A friendly business approach is based on mutual trust and transparency, clear procedures for each stage of absenteeism and figures to substantiate behaviour."

At first sight, procedures and a rational, numerical approach would appear to hinder the formation of a friendly bond of trust. But nothing could be further from the truth. Friendly business-like behaviour is all about finding the right balance between the two.