The Bradford Factor, sometimes referred to simply as "Bradford", is a numerical method used by many UK organisations to measure worker absenteeism. The aim is not just to count days of absence, but to provide insight into the disruption caused by the frequency and pattern of absence.
The origins of the term "Bradford Factor" are a bit muddled in HR lore. Some attribute it to a manager from a pharmaceutical company who once attended a workshop at Bradford Management School. Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) believes it stems from research conducted at Bradford University School of Management. Yet, the University itself hasn't definitively verified the term's genesis.
The calculation revolves around two simple elements:
Using the formula B=S²×, organisations can derive a "Bradford Score" for each employee. This score tends to increase dramatically if short-term absences are frequent, emphasising its primary goal: to highlight disruptive absence patterns.
One-off long-term sickness can be unavoidable and often doesn't disrupt the workflow as much as frequent short absences. The latter can indicate employee disengagement or other underlying issues. The Bradford Factor assists managers in identifying these patterns.
Understanding absenteeism is crucial for maintaining productivity. By pinpointing problematic absence patterns early, managers can address potential issues, provide support, or initiate wellbeing programmes to aid employees.
The objective nature of the Bradford Factor ensures that HR decisions related to absenteeism are made consistently and fairly. This is crucial for upholding the UK's employment laws, ensuring no employee is unfairly treated or discriminated against based on their health or circumstances.
Understanding the Bradford Factor's calculation is straightforward, but its implications can be profound.
Even though both employees have missed 3 days, the Bradford scores differ significantly due to the absence pattern.
Bradford scores can escalate rapidly with frequent, short-term absences. This serves as an alarm for HR and managers, prompting them to investigate and act, ensuring both the well-being of the employee and the smooth functioning of the organisation.
Here's a general overview of how Bradford scores are typically interpreted:
However, it's crucial to remember that Bradford Factor scores should be used as a guide rather than a strict rule. Individual circumstances, medical conditions, and other factors should always be considered. Moreover, employers should use the Bradford Factor as part of a holistic approach to managing absence, ensuring that employees are supported and that any underlying issues are addressed.