How to use engagement surveys to predict and reduce sick days

The world we live in is more data driven than ever before, but how do we find the right connections in our data? We suggest methods to combine your Employee Engagement Survey with data from HR, enabling you to predict future sick days.

How do we go from the level where companies have all the relevant data but do not take advantage of it, to the next level where the output is something useful? Most companies collect valuable data without using it fully. Companies know how many sick days their employees have and conduct yearly Employee Engagement Surveys – without combining these into something useful. By taking advantage of your data, we are able to explain:

  • Reasons for the development in employee sick days
  • Identify departments at risk of negative development in sick days
  • Recommend actions to reduce sick days in the future

With relevant data, we provide HR with the ability to make decisions based on facts rather than intuition.

Reducing sick days through stress indicators

In the following example, we helped our client identify the high-risk departments and provided the needed actions to solve the problem. Their Employee Engagement Survey had several questions related to stress, and we found especially one important parameter. Using this as an indicator for stress, we found the following clear relationship:

Figure 1: Stress leads to sick days


While the statistical analysis supported the picture, the analysis is visually clear – higher stress levels lead to more sick days. What we see, is that stress indicators below 60 clearly enlarge the variance and level of sick days. This leads us to establishing an alert level of 60 in this example.

Identifying departments at-risk

Having established the connection, the next step was to provide HR with easy tools to identify departments at risk. We provided continuously tracking of stress levels through yearly Employee Engagement Surveys and shorter Pulse Surveys where it was needed.

Figure 2: Focus on departments with high risk of sick days

What we see above, is an easy identification of the departments with low scores on the stress indicator. Eight departments had scores below 60, indicating that their employees will most likely suffer from more sick days in the future.

With the above tools, we provide HR with the needed insights in a simple way. We do not believe in black box methods, but prefer taking simple steps to provide transparent relations. The above example lets everyone see the problem and easily involves all management levels in the solution.

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