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More satisfaction, fewer absences: The checklist for companies

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How is the overall level of your employees’ wellbeing? Do you have absence management at your company under control? With employee surveys and health platforms, you can measure the satisfaction of your employees, increase their wellbeing, and minimize absences.

Enable your employees to have a stable work-life balance and gain trust and better performance. Ensure that you reach your goal: This checklist will support you step by step in taking a survey of your employees, reducing absences, and establishing a healthy company culture.

1. The preparation: How do you measure the level of satisfaction of your employees?

Successful absence management is closely connected with improving employee satisfaction. But how is the level of your employees’ satisfaction? Do you notice when they are not well? 

Reliable measurement of wellbeing and satisfaction at your company requires a central method of organizational research: The employee survey. This popular measure show strengths and weaknesses within an organization. Particularly among larger and international companies, online surveys have become the established tool for determining the satisfaction of all employees.

2. The starting signal: How to conduct an employee survey

The preparations have been made and you kick off an employee survey. The following checklist will help you plan and implement an employee survey successfully.

1. Plan an employee survey

  • When planning the questionnaire, make sure to set clear goals for the employee survey.
  • Integrate these goals into the goals and strategy of the company.
  • Get important people such as management on board – in particular, this includes the willingness to change, dedication to the process, and the openness for measures.
  • If possible, work together with (external) specialists in organizational development, quality management, and change management – you will benefit from their specialist expertise and methodological skills, efficiency through specialization, confidentiality, and external benchmarking
  • Define a project team – involve HR, the communications department, and employee representatives
  • Gain the trust and commitment of the employees with proactive communication, guaranteed anonymity, and voluntary participation in the employee survey

2. Conduct the employee survey

  • Make sure you have an exact definition of the measurement tools: Length of the questionnaire, number of questions, type of questions and options for answering, comprehensive survey or survey of select aspects
  • Pick a language for the survey in line with the language skills of your employees
  • Focus the survey on the subjects of satisfaction, dedication, and resignation
  • In the survey, use specific questions to get to the bottom of key aspects of the work situation and company culture
  • There are various types of questions – popular examples are open questions (free text), closed questions (yes/no), estimation questions with a corresponding scale
  • When compiling the questions, keep in mind that the answers must be analyzed and accordingly should be comparable.
  • Set a measurement method: Written survey, online survey, polling method
  • When it comes to answering the questions, do not set technical demands on the employees that are too high
  • Preferably use anonymous surveys
  • The employee survey is not an inhouse competition
  • The survey itself and honest answers should not have any financial consequences for the employees
  • Determine the analysis groups: According to the management structure or breakdown into occupational groups, trainees, management, management function, term of employment
  • What response rate do you expect? The Swiss average for employee surveys according to  HR Today (in German) is 70 percent
  • The response rate of the questionnaire depends, for example, on the size of the company, language skills, share of office employees, workload of the employees, and absent employees.

3. Conduct and analyze an employee survey

  • Conduct the survey process in a structured way with clear guidelines
  • As the line manager, analyze the results in workshops together with your teams and with management
  • Work together to derive sensible measures and priority topics
  • The analysis of the current situation serves as the basis for the discussion of improvements and measures
  • Gather all ideas and compile them in a measure catalog
  • Plan enough time for the change process and implementation of the measures
  • Use the employee survey as a management tool
  • As a manager, incorporate the results of the employee survey into the agreement on objectives during annual and performance reviews

4. Check results

  • Ensure complete process and success monitoring
  • The analysis and report on the findings should be easy to understand and clearly structured
  • Create a findings report that corresponds with the corporate design
  • The findings can be ideally rounded out with the most important comparative figures from the last survey, on the area, the entire company, and on key competitors
  • The time period until the next employee survey should not be too long so that the results can be used to monitor success
  • In general, every two years is an ideal survey frequency

5. Communicate results

  • Report information on the results in as timely a manner as possible
  • Ensure quick internal communication regarding the key insights and corresponding changes
  • Answer open questions on the assessment
  • Communicate in a targeted manner, outside the company as well
  • The results provide guidance regarding the next steps and are understandable for the employees
  • The results include clear reports on the findings
  • The findings reports are prepared to meet the needs of the target group and are easy to understand
  • Take care during the entire process to ensure systematic communication
  • Systematic communication includes prior notice, introduction and the onboarding process, support during execution, information on the overall results, an explanation regarding the next steps, information on measures to be taken, and the official conclusion of the project

3. The overtaking maneuver: The work climate compass as a simple alternative

An alternative to the resource-intensive employee survey is a work climate compass. This allows you to easily obtain continuous feedback from your employees with little effort:

  • Adapt the health platform individually to suit your company and your sector
  • Get fast scientifically based insights into your company and the health of your employees
  • Anonymity is guaranteed at all times for survey participants
  • The results of the employee survey do not allow any conclusions to be drawn regarding individual persons
  • The change can be implemented thanks to concrete recommendations for action
  • Experts support you with advice over the phone during the implementation of the measures
  • You plan, book, and evaluate the most effective health and HR measures

The work climate compass is your navigation tool as part of corporate health management (CHM) It shows you the most important starting points for how you can strengthen the health, motivation, and company loyalty of your employees. This health platform shows you a simple and effective way of visualizing psycho-social risks in the workplace and extrapolating measures that make a difference.

4. First milestone: Increased health and productivity at work

You have ascertained the current situation thanks to an employee survey or work climate compass. Do you have a concept with clear targets and corresponding measures to promote health?

Now it is up to you and and your team. Only those who have the will, perseverance, and capacity will achieve the first milestone: The improvement of employee health and the associated increase in efficiency.

5. The final spurt: How to reduce the absences of your employees

No surprise: Healthy employees mean fewer absences in the company. But what are the reasons behind employee absence? What does the term “absence management” mean? And how can I reduce the number of employee absences? With these tips and assistance, you will reduce the number of employee absences.

1. Lower rate of absence thanks to corporate health management

Advantages of corporate health management include a reduction in the rate of absence and psycho-social risks such as stress. Preventive measures to promote health form the basis for this. The aim of prevention: Prevent sickness-related absences and boost employee motivation and productivity. If, however, long-term absences occur, the affected persons and the company need quick and professional assistance. In this case, an analysis of the root cause and optimization of the situation also play an important role.

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2. Shorter absences and lower absence costs thanks to care management

Care managers can provide valuable support in cases of long-term incapacity to work. The primary goal: Quick help for long-term reintegration of the sick employee into the company. Care management can reduce absence costs within the company due to longer absences. The companies also receive assistance with labor legislation issues, a neutral assessment of the employee’s incapacity to work, plus advice regarding any obstacles in communicating with the employee.

Care management can be used in various situations:

  • Growing evidence of lengthy periods of incapacity for work
  • Absences related to terminations and conflicts
  • A history of repeated short absences
  • Unjustified and/or unexplained absences from the workplace
  • Strange feeling with direct line managers and/or higher level managers
  • Impending disability

3. Cost savings thanks to professional absence management

Absence management provides a quantitative basis as part of CHM. It serves as a foundation for the planning and implementation of targeted measures. Moreover, it is also the basic prerequisite for consistent and professional support and assistance for critically ill employees.

Absences due to illness, accident, military service, maternity leave, etc., must be recorded and managed. The entries can be made manually or using a data import from the HR systems. Then a claim can be reported and the data transferred securely. The evaluation used for the definition of further steps and an efficient means of prevention has a credible basis. Thanks to professional absence and claims management, you achieve cost savings in this administrative process.

A wide range of PC software offers the option for automating absence management and saves your internal resources. Sunetplus, the software offering from AXA, for example, is practical and reliable: Accident and illness reports are entered, transferred, managed and assessed electronically. Recording claims notifications is simple, and the data can easily be transmitted to all integrated insurance policies.

6. The final goal: A sustainably healthier company culture

You can be proud of yourself! You have taken a look at the current situation at your company using an employee survey or the work climate compass. You now know the level of wellbeing of your teams and have introduced suitable measures to promote health. And thanks to the surveys, your employees feel involved, understood, and more closely tied to the company. A healthy basis for the next steps.

Besides fewer absences, the improved health of your employees has also had a positive effect on your appeal as an employer. Other advantages: Employee satisfaction and the productivity of your team increase. You enable your employees to have a stable work-life balance and gain trust and better performance. You also prevent long-term absences. This investment in a sustainably healthy and appreciative company culture will pay off. Motivated, healthy employees, and a good working environment are the valuable basis for your company’s success.

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