What does your team’s sick leave show about your business performance?

As performance coaches we often ask to see the sick leave records just as we start coaching a business. We don’t need to see the names of people. Primarily we are looking for signs about the productivity of the business.

How much sick leave should be cause for concern?

If you or anyone in your team is taking more than an average of 1 day off every two months, we generally find it’s worth asking the question why people are taking the time.

Obviously life happens such as sick children, getting laser eye surgery etc. But if the reason people are taking time off is due to the common cold or flu – it’s clear that we need to dig a little deeper on a couple of issues which might be holding back productivity……. 

Are these staff possibly suffering from over-stress which could limit productivity on a regular basis

The key here is that over-stress can deplete our immune systems. Statistics show that up to 90% of doctor visits are caused by over-stress. As a result of over-stress, we can be more susceptible to colds and flu and other viruses flying around if we don’t look after our stress levels and therefore immune systems.

So if people are in this category both the leaders and the staff need to take responsibility to help people deal with mental strain and prevention is way better than cure in this case. So there is no time to waste.

Do they just need to learn how to work smarter instead of harder?

Let’s face it, most people have been taught to work harder to increase their productivity. Luckily we now have a lot of neuro-science telling us that performance requires less perceived effort, not more. So coaching your staff to increase their performance with less effort will greatly increase the productivity of your business.

The sick days are possibly just the tip of the iceberg……

Often we find that not only is absenteeism a problem with these people, but also presenteeism – ie they don’t work at full capacity even when they are at work. In our experience we generally find that where there is smoke there is fire…….so it’s important to ask more questions around these records to find out what’s really going on.

So why not take a look at your teams sick leave records, you may find they start prompting you to ask questions about whether you could coach your team to be a little healthier and more productive.

Of course if you’d like to know more, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.


If you’d like to find out more, join the conversation in our next open workshop.