The Return to Work Interview
One of the more difficult aspects of owning or managing a business of any size is the dealing with absenteeism. Statistics compiled by the CIPD have suggested that on average, every employee in the United Kingdom will take 7.6 days off each year. Rates of absenteeism are expected to continue to increase, with issues like increasing childcare costs only making matters worse. However, there are also ways in which managers and supervisors can help to reduce absenteeism – in turn helping both the running of the business and the employee in question.
The return to work interview is a valuable tool
The return to work interview is a valuable tool for not only decreasing rates of absence, but tackling the underlying issues which can cause absenteeism. The procedure can be a difficult one, with the potential for upset or arguments, but with the correct training an effective and successful interview can be carried out just as easily as a chat with a friend.
Don’t make the return to work interview interrogative
The return to work interview should be formal but not interrogative. It is best to plan a quiet and private setting beforehand, and why not offer your employee a tea or coffee before getting started? You’ll also want to brush up on any official company procedures and practices, and the expressed roles which both you and the employee in question are expected to undertake.
Make the interview motivating
Once you’ve sat down, you should concentrate on conducting a constructive and motivating interview, focused on any relevant facts or patterns and with mind to improving future rates of absenteeism. You could point out your employee’s qualities and strengths, and explain how the workforce suffered as a result of their absence. You may worry that your employee will get angry or upset, but by giving the interview a more constructive spin, you can improve morale – which not only has positive health benefits in itself, it will also encourage employees to come in even if they are feeling under the weather.
The return to work interview should be assertive not never aggressive
The return to work interview should be carried out assertively, but not aggressively. You don’t want to impact the confidence of the member of staff, or accuse them of being dishonest. You should always focus on facts and what you know, never make unfounded assumptions or accusations. Doing so can lead to a bitter employee or bad atmosphere, neither of which are conducive to productivity. Ensure that the employee is aware that it is not a disciplinary interview, and instead focus on the reasons behind their absence, and the ways in which you can work together to reduce absence in future.
Know your policies – inside out
While conducting return to work interviews, it is essential to know any relevant procedures or policies inside out, and to adhere to them equally for every employee. You should remain consistent in every interview, setting aside any personal relationship which you may have with the employee. Any deviation from normal or objective procedures could inadvertently lead to higher rates of absence, or disgruntled employees. However, an interview conducted by the book ensures that all employees are on a level playing field, and ultimately rates of absence are reduced.
Gain expertise to help you reduce absenteeism
If you’re looking to improve your conduct of return to work interviews, and by extension reduce absenteeism, why not recruit the expertise of a dedicated business training company with a proven track record?