Phased returns to work and return-to-work plans that incorporate input from the absent employee are among the most successful tools for managing long-term absence, research has argued.
The study, by XpertHR, has also identified keeping in touch by phone, home visits and advice from a medical specialist as the other most effective approaches, with some seven out of 10 employers polled turning to occupational health specialists for input.
A high return-to-work rate is best achieved through methods that allow for informal, verbal communication with the absent employee and include their active involvement. It is also imperative on the part of the employer to be flexible about return plans, the research has argued.
The study examined long-term absence management measures used by 166 organisations, in particular, what strategies were most successful in rehabilitating employees back into work.
The most popular measures used by the employers to manage long-term absence were temporary changes to help the employee return (used by 99% of respondents), keeping in touch with the absent employee (98%) and obtaining medical records (97%).
Full details of the survey on effective management techniques of long-term sickness absence can be found on XpertHR.