What is the Bradford Factor?
The Bradford Factor is a term used mainly in human resource management to measure and analyse employee absenteeism, named after the city it was founded in.
It is a formula that calculates a score for each employee based on their frequency and duration of unplanned absences, such as sickness or unexcused leave. The idea behind the Bradford Factor is that it assigns a higher score to employees who have frequent short-term absences, as these can be more disruptive to productivity than infrequent longer absences.
The formula to calculate the Bradford Factor score is:
BF = (S x S) x D
S is the total number of absences within a given period, usually 12 months.
D is the total number of days absent within that same period.
The resulting score is used to identify employees with high levels of absence and helps employers prioritise interventions, such as providing support or implementing attendance improvement policies.
How to use the Bradford Factor
Define Absence Policies
You can clearly establish your organisation’s policies and guidelines regarding attendance so that everything is clear to your team. This includes your expectations for reporting absences, the documentation you require, and any consequences for excessive absence. You can use the calculator to explain to your team how you will measure their absence in a fair and thorough way.
Using the calculator you can Implement a system to accurately record and track employee absences in a way that is understood by all. This can be done through attendance management software, spreadsheets, or other tools that allow you to document the dates, reasons, and durations of absences for each team member.
Calculate Bradford Factor Scores
Utilize the Bradford Factor formula (BF = (S x S) x D) to calculate the scores for each employee based on their absence data. Determine a specific timeframe, such as the previous 12 months, to assess the scores and identify patterns.
Determine the threshold or trigger point at which you consider an employee’s absence to be excessive. This threshold could be based on a specific Bradford Factor score or a combination of score and other factors relevant to your organisation’s context.
Identify High Scorers
You can review the Bradford Factor scores to identify team members with high scores, these team members are likely the ones requiring further attention and intervention. You can use the score to explain to them your concern and help them where needed to change their score.
Investigate and Communicate
Open up conversations with your employees who have high Bradford Factor scores to understand the reasons behind their absences. It’s really important to approach these conversations with empathy and confidentiality, as there may be valid personal or health-related issues causing the absences.
Provide Support and Resources
You can offer support and resources to employees who are experiencing frequent absences. This could involve providing information on health and wellness programs, offering flexible work arrangements, or suggesting resources for addressing personal challenges that may be affecting attendance.
Develop Action Plans
You can work collaboratively with your team members to develop action plans for improvement. Set specific goals, establish monitoring mechanisms, and provide any necessary assistance or accommodations to help them achieve better attendance.
Use the calculator to continuously monitor the attendance of team members, paying particular attention to those with previously high Bradford Factor scores. Regularly review and update their scores to assess progress and determine the effectiveness of the action plans.
Recognize and Reward Improvement
Make sure to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts made by team members who have shown improvement in their attendance. Positive reinforcement can be great for motivating employees to maintain better attendance habits, which in turn is better for the business.
Remember that the Bradford Factor and calculator is just one tool in managing employee attendance. It can and should be used in conjunction with other performance management strategies, open communication, and a supportive work environment. The goal is always to address attendance issues while maintaining a fair and empathetic approach to individual circumstances.
How Nine2five can help you manage your team
On Nine2five you can record each team member’s periods of leave, whether that’s holiday, sickness, maternity / paternity or for any other reason. There is also a built in Bradford Factor Calculator so you can create reports easily and understand which employees need your attention as described in this article.