Just 15% of HR professionals consider absence management to be a main concern, yet almost half (49%) admit managing absence poses a problem for their companies.
The findings from a study conducted by Imperial College Business School and commissioned by PMI Health Group of HR directors and managers, revealed that over a third (35%) of practitioners said demonstrating return on investment was their number one priority over the next 12 months.
The need to implement new systems, such as IT and flexible benefits was favoured by 30%, closely followed by 28% of respondents who said they would be looking to save money on employee healthcare support costs.
PMI Health Group director Mike Blake explained that companies needed "robust" sickness absence management programmes in place to work alongside healthcare schemes.
"Managing sickness absence should be a key driver behind any healthcare programme," he said.
"The business cost can be considerable from paying salaries or sick pay, to replacement staffing costs - not to mention its impact on customer satisfaction and workforce morale. This cost can be calculated however if robust processes for measuring absence are in place."
Furthermore, 39% said they needed expert advice on how to run a successful corporate wellbeing scheme, with three-quarters of practitioners using specialist advisors to help select employee healthcare products.
Almost a quarter (24%) said they looked for information from the HR press to select healthcare providers.
"Business confidence may be returning but HR professionals remain under pressure to demonstrate the value of the HR function," Blake added.
"Employee healthcare programmes are often considered as a nice to have rather than a strategic imperative by business leaders - but a healthy workforce can contribute to a healthy bottom line. With appropriate evaluation frameworks in place, the returns can be measured to reassure CEOs and CFOs."
Thursday 12 March
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