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Bradford Factor

Calculating the Bradford Factor with TeamSeer

The Bradford Factor is used to help identify staff whose sickness absenteeism needs reviewing in greater detail.

TeamSeer’s Bradford Factor calculator automatically gives reports for any time span, and for all employees. TeamSeer’s absence management software is specifically designed to take factors such as half-days, bank holidays, and part-time working into account, and will always give you the correct figures.

Because it is so easy for line managers to register staff absence using TeamSeer, they are more likely to create a full record of absenteeism.

When your employees use TeamSeer to log their holiday, they see their absence record every time they log in. They are aware their absences are tracked – and it will be obvious to them and to their line manager if they start abusing the system. Using TeamSeer will therefore reduce ‘sickies’ in the first place.

TeamSeer is set up so that only HR managers can see the Bradford Factor, so that employees don’t ‘work up to the limits’.

Employees are ranked by descending order of Bradford Factor. HR and line managers can then view the calendars of staff with a high Bradford sickness score, and use this calendar in performance appraisals.

How are the Bradford Factor points calculated?

The Bradford Factor score is calculated by looking at sickness over a period (often a year, but could be any time period) and counting the number of sickness days [D], and the number of sickness episodes [E] (a consecutive period of sickness).

The Bradford Formula: Bradford Points = D x E x E (Number of Sickness Days times Episodes squared) You can see how the Bradford Formula emphasises ‘sickies’ from the following two examples:

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Why is the Bradford Factor hard to calculate?

If you are using Excel or a database to track absence, calculating the Bradford Factor can be very time-consuming. This is because calculating sickness episodes have to be checked manually for each employee. Factors such as half-days, bank holidays, part-time working, shifts, and tie-in with other absence must all be taken into consideration.

TeamSeer is set up so that only HR managers can see the Bradford Factor, so that employees don’t ‘work up to the limits’.

In the example above, the Bradford Factor formula should count the sick days shown in green as one episode, rather than two, because the time between Friday and Wednesday were all non-work days for this employee. The Saturday and Sunday were the weekend, Monday was a bank holiday and Tuesday the employee took off as a paid holiday.

Why is a Bradford Factor calculator useful?

If you manage a small workforce, you probably know which team-members are the ones who take ‘sickies’, and which are your solid-as-a-rock performers who turn up day-in, day-out. However, it is hard to know when you should start taking action against someone who you think is abusing the system. This might be because you don’t have a good frame of reference against other companies, or a big enough data sample to be statistically confident of ‘normal’ limits.

In larger organisations it is hard to monitor everyone, and line managers may see absence management as a low-priority unless it becomes critical. The Bradford Factor is a useful tool which HR teams can use as part of an absenteeism reduction strategy.

Bradford Factor calculations allow you to identify those employees whose short term absences are reaching a level which is likely to be disrupting workflow, even though the numbers of days off may compare favourably with colleagues on long term sick.

What level of Bradford Factor should be used to trigger an appraisal?

Each company will choose its own Bradford Factor index depending on its policies. Because the Bradford Formula is almost exponential, it is easy to reach a high score quite quickly.

Customers using TeamSeer’s absence management system have a variety of different trigger levels, with higher values prompting further actions.

Most companies monitor their Bradford Factor system on an annual basis – looking at either a calendar year or rolling 12 months. Using TeamSeer, any period can be selected to produce reports. The alerts produced for line managers are typically raised weekly for hourly paid employees and monthly for salaried employees.

One organisation with mainly hourly-paid workers is trying to reduce sickness days by 15% per annum. It has a trigger of 13 points per month. Someone who is off sick on 2 occasions for a total of 3 days a month, would not trigger a review, but any more time and occasions would. However one occasion of up to 12 days would not trigger a review.

Organisations which are monitoring over a quarterly period on average are using a trigger of 27 points, and those on an annual basis 80 points. At these levels an initial review with the staff member is conducted, with higher levels leading to more formal reviews and possible disciplinary action.

Care with using the Bradford Formula

While the Bradford Factor is a useful tool, there are often good reasons for employee absenteeism, and so it should never be used in isolation. The scores act best as a trigger to prompt line managers to investigate a case further.

Secondly, if staff are made aware of their ‘score’ on a regular basis, the formula can be counter-productive as staff ‘work up to the limits’.

What our clients say...

Siemens uses TeamSeer to calculate the Bradford Factor.

“Tracking the Bradford formula in TeamSeer has made a big time saving impact, I am now confident sicknesses will be reduced.”

Elaine Hendrie, HR Officer at Siemens Flow Instruments.

Automatically calculate Bradford Factor and KPIs with TeamSeer's staff absence management system