SME bosses don’t believe the sickies

Now that December is in full swing, many businesses will see their absence levels rise. But how many of you believe that your employees are genuinely ill? Or do you see straight through the sickies?

Personnel Today published findings by an AXA PPP Healthcare survey which found that 60% of SME bosses surveyed, thought that the ‘wool was being pulled over their eyes’ when it came to sickness absence and they simply did not believe their employees’ excuses.

The article went on to say that one third of bosses check social media profiles for evidence of a ‘sickie’ and one quarter would tell a colleague to call the employee to check up on them. It is little wonder then, that one half of employees felt nervous when calling their boss to report sickness, even if the absence was genuine.

If you are one of those suspecting managers or even a worried employee, help is at hand. Honeydew Health, as part of our Truth or Myth series of articles explored the world of sickies and wrote about how they should be managed appropriately.

The article, ‘Truth or Myth: line managers will know if absentees are swinging the lead’ outlined that although many managers may have an ‘intuition’ and can tell if employees are telling the truth or not, this is not something that should be pursued. From a legal perspective, line managers (in general) are not GPs and dismissing someone’s sickness absence as untrue could result in a grievance.

You should also think about why your employees feel that they need to pull sickies to take time off work – are they overworked at the moment? Are they too worried about your reaction to simply ask for some time off? Are they so dis-engaged with the job that motivation to come into work is dwindling?

Unless you have medical evidence to suggest otherwise, the best practice is to consider all absence genuine and simply monitor the absence levels of each employee and bring patterns of absence to their attention. Making it known that you do not believe employees when they call in sick will only serve to compound fears and bad rapport with your team and some may actually just continue coming into work to spare themselves the scrutiny. A sick workforce is not a productive workforce and you should make it clear that if they are sick, they should rest up and come back to work when they are ready.

If you continue to show that you care, the relationships you have with your employees should begin to evoke honesty and sickies will reduce of their accord over time. Take a look at our Truth or Myth article for more details on the best practice management style for this situation.

Honeydew Health Ltd