HBOS looks to HR and OH to help tackle persistent absenceOn 1 Dec 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Bankinggiant Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) has made 20 of its HR staff ‘absencechampions’ in an effort to improve how its personnel professionals manageabsence among its 38,000 staff.Thebank is encouraging its HR staff to look at how they deal with persistentabsence and whether they are doing enough to offer staff adjustments to their work practices andenvironment.Lastyear, the bank carried out a reappraisal of its absence procedures, and foundthat in half the cases of short-term absence, a doctor did not necessarily needto be involved. MaryMcFadzean, organisational health manager for Retail HR at HBOS, said thatshort-term absence was often the result of personal or social stresses orpressures linked to issues surrounding organisational culture.Inthese instances, HR would often be as well, if not better, qualified than GPsto suggest workplace adjustments, so should not be afraid to get involved.Whenan employee was persistently off sick, HR could have just as much of a role to playas the GP in helping to uncover and address any underlying problems, shesuggested. Butshe stressed she was not suggesting making it mandatory to visit HR beforegoing to a doctor or trying to dissuade people from seeing their GP. “It’sabout everyone working together to try to build trust between individuals,managers and HR,” she said.Justwriting to the GP for suggested adjustments, as many HR professionals feltlimited to do, was often a waste of time.”HRhas to have the confidence to tackle some of these issues, and there’s much OHcan also do to pass on its knowledge. When you get a sicknote, that’s fine, butthere is a lot HR can do,” said McFadzean, who is a member of the RoyalCollege of Nursing’s OH managers’ forum steering committee. Comments are closed.