“Leadership is not a position or title; it is action and example” Top tips on Managing Staff Absence.


Last week we wrote about employee absence from work and how to take steps, if you are off work, to feel more in control of your circumstances. This week we are thinking differently and flipping the focus to managers, employers or leaders who are supporting staff members who are off work. This is the forgotten area really. There is the individual who is off sick. There is HR or a senior leader who is pushing the implementation of the procedure. And then there is the manager. The one who is having to hold the difficult conversations, start company procedure or take disciplinary action. It is hard being that person and much of the conversation out there is about following the guidelines and very little else. How, as a leader, do you take the right steps as per your company’s expectations, take the right steps for your staff member with whom you have a relationship with AND look after your own wellbeing? It can be a very stressful time but out top tips may help…


The OutdoorCureOnline Guide to Managing Staff Absence

  • Find the right balance of keeping in touch with your staff member. Include them in this decision so they know it needs to happen but do not feel harassed or that it is having a negative effect on their recovery.
  • Do things in a timely manner. Sometimes this feels hard but it is important to implement the right things at the right time as per your company’s guidelines. It also ensures you are treating all your staff members fairly and without unconscious bias.
  • Have conversations that ensure that your member of staff also takes accountability. Whether this be taking steps to recover or to keep in touch at the agreed times it is important that the experience is a shared one, rather than one sided with all the responsibility on you.
  • Offer additional support – the Employee Assist Programme if you have one, but also signpost to any other support that is relevant in a compassionate and understanding way.
  • Ask different questions, if it is appropriate to do so, ones that encourage and support your staff member to move forward. If they are thinking about what their next step is, they are more likely to commit to it.
  • Without putting pressure on your member of staff, find out when they think it is likely they will return. This will ensure you have the time to organise any adaptations or changes they may need.
  • You may need to have 3-way conversations between yourself, your staff member and HR or a senior leader. If you feel you need this support, ask for it! Remember it is important to look after your own wellbeing if things are tougher or more complex than expected.

We hope this helps!

The OutdoorCureOnline Team x


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OutdoorCure Psychological Services based in UK, Staffordshire offering off the couch walk and talk psychology services

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