Effectively supporting a person in difficulty

Duration: 4:01


Absenteeism has been on the rise for several years. One of the main causes is a significant increase in "subjective" diseases, particularly cases related to mental health.

The cause of this phenomenon stems from a combination of factors, such as accelerated technological change, the increase in stress at work or at home, or the aging population.

This increase in the absenteeism rate obviously has a major financial impact on organizations, their employees and society in general. The human "costs" are also high, since employees are a company's main resource.

Prevention is the leading factor in reducing the costs of absenteeism.

There are three levels of prevention:

  • primary prevention, such as health education, management and maintenance programs;
  • secondary prevention, with an  Employee Assistance Program;
  • tertiary prevention, with disability and rehabilitation management programs.

It is important to remember that certain persons and certain organizations have a high risk of absenteeism. In both cases, targeted awareness and education activities can reduce absenteeism.

Risk factors are divided into two categories: individual factors and organizational factors.

The main individual factors are:

  • negative affect;
  • type A personality;
  • lack of assertiveness;
  • natural pessimism or negativity;
  • inadequate coping strategies.

The main organizational factors are:

  • poorly trained or poorly prepared employees;
  • repetitive or monotonous jobs;
  • ambiguous roles;
  • an unhealthy work climate;
  • difficult schedules;
  • a high stress level;
  • absence of a clear policy or guidelines on absenteeism.

So how do you detect a problem that could result in an absence?

By observing and interacting regularly with your employees, you can recognize signs that often warn of a potential absence requiring your intervention.

Among the signs, we should note:

  • frequent absences and lateness;
  • reduction in productivity or performance;
  • increase in errors;
  • decrease in motivation;
  • increase in occupational accidents;
  • difficulty with concentration and memory;
  • complaints of fatigue;
  • neglect of appearance or personal care;
  • increased and unusual impatience or irritability;
  • lack of cooperation;
  • crying;
  • isolation;
  • interpersonal problems;
  • and lastly, weight loss or gain.

Unless you have taken specialized training in psychosocial intervention, you must be well prepared and capable of dealing adequately with the person at risk of absence.

It is therefore important, in particular, to:

  • listen and show understanding;
  • show empathy;
  • show respect and confidentiality to this person;
  • show fairness in trying to treat employees the same way;
  • be rigorous and firm, but always in a gentle way!

You can help reduce your employees' absenteeism by adopting a preventive approach to recognizing the warning signs of disability and support employees in difficulty.

To find out more about this topic, we suggest you read the reference document.

In case of any questions, doubts or a specific need for support, don't hesitate to contact the specialized support service offered to the eligible individuals.