What Is the Bradford Factor Score? (And Why Should You Care?)

Improve employee attendance

Do you feel like your team’s attendance record is out of control? Are days off and sickness levels being taken advantage of? If so, it may be time to hit the reset button and start using the Bradford factor formula.

The Bradford factor has been around for years but is still unknown to many managers – until now! Join us as we explore this useful tool that helps to analyze employee absenteeism and create a healthier workplace culture. ☀️

What Is Bradford Factor?

Bradford factor is an algorithm created by none other than Ernest Bradford, who figured out that multiplying the number of instances of absence an employee had over a certain period was indicative of the impact absentees have on their organization.

In simpler words, the Bradford factor is a system for measuring the frequency and duration of employee absence from work. Assigning points for long-term and short-term absences allows employers to identify potential issues with attendance and correct them so that the workplace is running smoothly and efficiently.

Bradford Factor Formula Explained

The Bradford factor score (B) is calculated by multiplying the square number of all absence spells / instances (S) in a given period by the total number of days lost (D):

S x S x D = B

For example, if there have been three absence spells over 12 months, and the individual has taken a total of 10 days off work, your calculation variables will be as follows:

  • S = 3
  • D = 10

Then, the Bradford factor formula will look like this:

3 x 3 x 10 = 90

It is important to note that if an individual has only had one absence during a given period, then the Bradford factor result will always be 1 regardless of how many days off were taken.

How to Interpret Your Bradford Factor Scores

Understanding the Bradford factor score doesn’t have to feel like a mind-numbing math test that you once failed in fifth grade. Interpreting it is actually quite straightforward: the higher the score, the more disruptive an employee’s absences are for the company.

In case you are committed to implementing the Bradford formula in your workplace, feel free to use the Bradford factor heatmap to understand what different scores mean and which actions they should entail:

  • 5 points – no concern
  • 22 points – some concern
  • 45 points – action required (e.g., a verbal warning)
  • 100 points – disciplinary action (e.g., a written warning, a performance improvement plan, etc.)
  • 900 points – serious disciplinary action (e.g., a reduction in pay, termination, etc.)

The heatmap scale makes it clear whether you have any attendance problems in the workplace and helps to address and prevent high absenteeism rates among employees.

Who Can Use Bradford Factor Formula?

The Bradford factor can benefit every business looking to improve efficiency and reduce absenteeism. This applies to companies of all sizes and in any industry, including public and private sector organizations, manufacturing firms, service businesses, educational institutions, and many more.

By tracking employee absences over a period of time using the Bradford factor formula, business owners and managers can gain key insights into their workforce’s attendance patterns and make better decisions about how best to manage them. This can help to create a more productive workplace while also reducing the financial costs associated with employee absenteeism.

But that’s not all!

Let’s have a look at some other benefits that the Bradford factor formula offers:

Bradford Factor Formula Advantages

  1. Accurately maps employee absences: The Bradford factor formula can be used to quickly identify those who have a pattern of taking frequent and/or prolonged absences. Once this is identified, managers can then work with these individuals to better understand the root causes of their absenteeism and develop strategies for addressing them.
  2. Sets expectations for staff attendance: It’s likely that none of your employees deliberately plans to become that absentee who wreaks havoc on workplace productivity or adversely affects a company’s bottom line with excessive time away from work. And thanks to the Bradford factor, you can prevent this scenario before it develops by projecting a clear stance on attendance expectations and creating proactive solutions for persistent absenteeism.
  3. Boosts absence management efficiency: The Bradford factor formula serves as a single-metric approach for gaining insight into an employee’s absence patterns. Besides, it assigns specific values to individual absence trends so that they can be identified as more or less costly than others. Therefore, it translates employees’ attendance records into something much simpler to understand and monitor – thus boosting absence management efficiency.
  4. Helps to promote a more positive workplace culture: The Bradford factor formula shows if any member of your team takes too many sick days or days off. And from this point, you can begin figuring out why that happens and tackling potential issues at their source. Not only does this help to create a healthier workplace environment, but it could also save businesses lots of money by preventing staff turnover and improving employee productivity.

Bradford Factor Formula Disadvantages

  1. Lack of context: The Bradford factor formula does not take into account the context or underlying reasons for an employee’s absence, which can be a significant factor in determining whether an employee should be subject to disciplinary action.
  2. Discourages occasional absences: The Bradford factor formula places emphasis on the number of absences rather than their length. This can potentially discourage employees from taking occasional and necessary absences, such as medical appointments or family emergencies.
  3. Unfairly disadvantages employees with chronic illnesses: The Bradford factor formula does not take into account employees with chronic illnesses who may require regular absences but are in no way shirking their duties.
  4. Can increase stress levels: The Bradford factor formula can place undue stress on employees who may feel like their attendance is constantly under scrutiny and that any absence will be met with disciplinary action.

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Bottom Line

The Bradford factor formula is an excellent tool for measuring employee absences. Plus, it aligns individual absence rates with specific corrective actions aimed at minimizing the incidence of unplanned absences and promoting workplace productivity.

With that said, the formula is not a magical remedy to all absenteeism problems a company may experience. For example, if employees tend to call in sick too frequently because they are faced with an unbearable amount of stress at work, applying disciplinary actions in such a situation won’t bring the desired results (and, in fact, can only make things worse). Instead, it would be better to find a way to make the workplace environment less stressful and more enjoyable for the team, which requires a more though-through and comprehensive approach to absence management that the Bradford factor formula alone cannot provide.

6 Final Tips for Better Absence Management

  • Develop a clear and comprehensive attendance policy: Clearly outline the policies and procedures related to attendance, tardiness, leave of absence, sickness, etc., in the employee handbook or in some other written document that each employee can easily access.
  • Offer flexible work schedules: Flexible working hours and telecommuting allow employees to find a better work-life balance and manage their personal commitments with greater ease. This way, they will likely take fewer unplanned absences than in traditional workplace settings.
  • Identify underlying issues causing absenteeism: If some workplace-related factors make your team members reluctant to attend work, such as stress or interpersonal conflicts with colleagues, it’s important to identify and address these factors in order to reduce absenteeism.
  • Provide training on the importance of good attendance: Informing your staff members on this matter can help them better understand the impact their absences have on the organization and encourage them to be more mindful of taking unscheduled absences.
  • Offer a generous paid vacation policy: When workers have more time to rest, they return to work feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle tasks with fresh zeal. Additionally, having sufficient time off tends to decrease stress levels and job dissatisfaction, two major contributors to long-term high employee absenteeism.
  • Track absences consistently and accurately: Tracking everyone’s days off over time can paint a clearer picture of underlying patterns that may indicate potential problems before they feed into larger issues like missed deadlines and lower productivity. Furthermore, accurate absence tracking also helps managers work with their team members to develop strategies that might help them get back on track and reduce absenteeism. After all, understanding an issue is the first step in solving it.

The Best Absence Tracking Solution at Your Service

If you’re looking into the abyss of uncertainty with regards to keeping track of your employees’ absences, consider actiPLANS – using it is like having the superpower to keep track of employee absences and implement that data to your advantage.

In actiPLANS, employees can easily log different types of absences and schedule long-term vacations in advance. As for managers, they can use the system to automate the leave request approval process and generate informative reports in minutes, saving valuable time for other tasks.

When analyzing your team’s absence data with actiPLANS, you can take a macro perspective or hone in on specific employees to clearly see how many absence instances they had over any period of time and how long those absences lasted. This data is of great help in calculating the Bradford factor score for each team member and trying to identify the reasons behind high absenteeism if it’s detected. With this insight, you can drive significant improvements in any aspect of operations related to employee attendance – from recruiting strategies to scheduling changes to rewards programs.

Leave Time & Balances Report, actiPLANS

With airtight tracking and flexible analysis tools, actiPLANS takes absence management to the next level, helping your business reach new heights. So, don’t hesitate to sign up for a free online trial today and give it a go!

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