Revolutionary absence management system for 3PL

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Wincanton has saved thousands by implementing an absence management system from Active Health Partners (AHP).

The system, which was brought in to cut down on employee sickness across a number of its sites, reduced absence by 10,000 days in the first six months.

The 3PL says it is now saving £178 per employee per year.

Previously, evaluating absence rates and trends throughout the business was difficult because of the sheer number of employees working at different locations (30,000 based across 400 sites). Differences in the customer reporting requirements across the company also meant that some sites included staff on long-term sick leave while others excluded these figures.

Wincanton wanted a system that would help improve consistency across the business. The system involves the provision of nurse-led medical advice that assists employees back to health quickly. It analyses trends across each site while providing real-time management information.

With the solution in place, instead of calling their line manager to notify an absence, employees contact a 24-hour nurse-staffed call centre. Based on the symptoms provided by the employee, medical advice is given, along with an anticipated return-to-work date. The line manager is then notified via email or text with an overview of the information, and relevant data is collated to enable comprehensive online management reports.

“We are delighted with the success of the scheme and it has resulted in tangible cost savings for both the business and our customers,” said Claire Webber, human resources manager, strategic projects, Wincanton. “The real-time reports are a real benefit as they enable us to identify trends and manage any staffing issues more promptly and effectively. As a result of the service, the average duration of short-term absence fell from seven days to four and the nurse-led approach has been very well received by employees.”

Initially, the absence management service was trialled for six months on 11 contracts, involving 5,500 staff based at 20 sites. This period was then extended to nine months to allow the system to become fully embedded. In the first eight months, the AHP nurses handled over 22,000 calls, with 90 per cent of employees feeling that their call had been dealt with politely and appropriately.

Due to the success of the pilot scheme – at one site the average absence rate was halved – the scheme is being rolled out to additional sites across the business.

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