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A robust organisation, and absenteeism

Despite the many measures taken in recent years, the robustness and deployability of our colleagues in some business units are less than satisfactory, resulting in high levels of sickness absence. The sickness absence rate at NS was 8.5% in 2022 (2021: 6.9%).

At all business units, robustness and sickness absence are priorities on the agenda and discussed periodically in management team consultations and meetings between the board and employee representation bodies. The managers of departments with particularly high sickness absence rates have implemented a targeted strategy and extra support measures.

Joint approach

‘Zo blijven wij samen vitaal’ (This is how we remain robust together) is the title of a management decision from May 2022. Board and employee representatives have set up a joint approach to make NS a more robust organisation, with a focus on the sustained deployability of our people, lower levels of sickness absence and faster recovery rates after sickness absence. The approach is aimed at strengthening the existing measures and using them more effectively, clever use of ‘proven strategies’ (from within NS or from elsewhere) to reduce sickness absence, and an environment where new ideas of employees and managers can be tested quickly. In 2022, our main focus was on making our employees feel proud and healthy. We asked them for their own ideas about what it takes for an organisation to be ‘robust'. From the more than fifty ideas submitted, we selected a number of particularly promising ones, such as part-time reintegration services for personnel in work schedules, a single desk for all HR-related questions, and specific wishes with regard to furniture.

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