Nurse and Doctor talking

  • Have clear and consistent messages.
  • Communicate regularly with line managers.
  • Choose your words wisely.

Have clear and consistent messages

Use simple language and clear messages to ensure that staff know expectations around sickness absence and how this fits in with their overall health and wellbeing. 

Set out what you expect in terms of their personal responsibility to keep themselves well, the support available if they are unwell and how they can access this. It is helpful for these key messages to be regularly reinforced so that new staff are informed and any changes can be communicated. 

Choose your communications channels to suit your audience. It’s important to think about how your staff best respond to communications and, if they are about sickness absence, to make them distinct from other corporate messages. 

If staff are regularly at a computer, the intranet and email might work best, for those mainly on the ward, use line managers and staff noticeboards to reach them.

Communicate regularly with line managers

Help managers to support and manage staff with wellbeing and sickness absence issues by:

  • regularly providing updates about expectations, training, support and key changes
  • sharing good news stories about how staff have been supported and positive outcomes of sickness absence-related actions. 

Choose your words wisely

Sickness absence can be a very sensitive issue to manage for a variety of reasons. When developing and reviewing policies, procedures and templates ensure the language used is right and does not have unintended consequences. Test the wording with your key stakeholders to see how it resonates.

Carefully consider the wording used in draft template letters to be used as part of the process, as these could cause significant concern for staff if not worded carefully. 

You can find more tips to help you communicate well with your staff in our communications guide. 

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