Reducing sick leave in the public sector

One in ten employees in the public sector is absent from work every day. KS and NAV are therefore working together to help reduce sick leave. The effort is specifically aimed at 25 municipalities which have above average percentage of absent employees. 

In close collaboration with KS and NAV, we have developed a learning process with two main objectives: 1 – Strengthen leaders in mastery-oriented competence, and 2 – Ensure accountability and responsibility among employees.

Strengthen leaders in mastery-oriented competence

We have developed all content for the learning conferences for the targeted municipalities. With the help of informative and research-based films, cases, and dialogue tools, the participants have participated in one full day of training and gained new expertise on actions and strategies that can help reduce sick leave. The central learning tool has been a Dialogue Mat, which helps highlight the link between mastery-oriented leadership and reduce work absence while simultaneously creating dialogue and ideas that support the continous work with maintaining a low percentage of absent employees. 

Ensure accountability and responsibility among employees

We have also developed a dialogue mat to be used in each individual unit, specifically created for employees. Managers are trained in facilitating the dialogue mat and are responsible for utilising the tool in work processes at their own workplace, as well as ensuring smooth implementation of decided measures after the sessions. 

Specifique provided content and dialogue tools for the process, and was responsible for the facilitation and implementation of more than 50 workshops in selected municipalities throughout 2017 and 2018.

Specifique has emphasised close collaboration between all involved parties throughout the process. Councillors, union representatives, and the occupational health service and NAV have been important partners. Additionally, we kept close contact with the project group in KS and NAV to ensure relevant and simple work tools for the target group. Small adjustments were made along the way in collaboration with the client to better fit the needs of the employees.

In January 2018, sick leave statistics were presented at a large conference, where the numbers showed a decreased in absent employees in most of the targeted municipalities. The councillors attributed much credit for this outcome to this project. As of 2018, the initiative is offered to all Norwegian municipalities.

More than 2,000 leaders participated in the Dialogue Mat training, and approximately 16,000 employees have completed the workshop. The average score among participants working with the dialogue mat is 5.2 on a scale from 1-6.