If you’ve never heard of the Bradford Factor, or have heard it mentioned but still have no real idea as to what it actually means and how it’s used, you’re not alone.
But, if you own or manage a business, you may well find that it is a useful tool to have in your belt when it comes to tracking higher than average rates of absence.
What is the Bradford Factor?
Rumoured to get its name from a research project into the disruptive effect of absences on businesses, undertaken at the Bradford University School of Management in the 1980s, the Bradford Factor is a formula commonly used in HR, that measures unplanned employee absence. By unplanned, we mean sick days, urgent childcare needs, etc. as opposed to planned absence such as holidays. If you know in advance that an employee is going to be off, you can plan ahead, whereas if they have a last-minute emergency or simply fail to turn up for work, planning is impossible and the knock-on effect for the business is more detrimental.
Repeated short-term absences have been proven to have more of an operational impact on business operation than infrequent, longer-term absences, and the Bradford Factor score can alert you to when this is occurring – and amongst which members of staff.
How is the Bradford Factor calculated?
The Bradford Factor is calculated using what’s known as the Bradford Formula:
S x S x D = B
S = the total number of separate absences by an individual
D = the total number of days of absence
B = the Bradford Factor score
The majority of companies tend to use a year as an acceptable period of time to measure the Bradford Factor, but with a good workforce planning system such as Employee Attendance Cloud by Chronologic (EAC), you can usually set your own parameters, which you may need or want to be monthly or each trimester.
By choosing your own parameters, you can set up a workflow alert which will let you know when a red line has been crossed in terms of exceeding a predefined number of absence days, serving as an indicator of a potential issue that requires your attention.
Why is it useful?
The Bradford Factor is definitely a useful piece of information and shines a light on an issue that requires further attention, but it’s not a standalone deciding factor – after all, there can be many issues going on either inside the workplace itself or outside, that may be important contributors.
Short-term, unplanned absences can be especially disruptive in sectors such as manufacturing, service and others, but fortunately the rota and scheduling functionality in the EAC software allows managers and supervisors to respond quickly to these unexpected absences and arrange suitable cover.
This is just one example of how a cloud-based workforce planning system can really optimize your business operation by giving you easy access to important data and alerting you of potential issues before they become significant problems.
To find out more about all the ways in which EAC can help you, request a free demo with a member of our team and they will find out more about your business needs and show you how EAC can make a huge difference to your day-to-day operation.