Bradford Score: A Productivity Metric for the Staffing Industry

Bradford Score: A Productivity Metric for the Staffing Industry - Shiftbase
The Bradford Score

In this guide, we’ll delve into the Bradford Score, its calculation, and the benefits it offers in hiring processes. Discover alternatives in HR and join us in exploring optimal methods for measuring absence. Learn to leverage these tools effectively in your organizational strategy.

What is a Bradford score?

The Bradford score, also known as the Bradford factor, is a metric used in human resources (HR) to assess employee absenteeism. It assigns a numerical value based on the frequency and duration of an employee's absences within a specific period, typically a year. The theory behind the Bradford score is that short, frequent, unplanned absences disrupt workflows more than longer, planned absences.

How to work out a Bradford score?

The Bradford Factor scores are calculated using the following Bradford formula:

[B = S x S x D]


  • B is the Bradford Score

  • S is the number of occurrences of absence in a set period (usually a year)

  • D is the total number of days the employee was absent

Follow these Steps

  1. Determine the set period for which you want to calculate the Bradford score. This could be a specific number of days, weeks, or months.

  2. Identify the total number of absence instances or spells during the set period. This could include sick days, vacation days, or any other absence the employee took.

  3. Determine the number of days of absence that occurred during the set period. This could include all days of absence, including partial days, or only full days.

  4. Use the formula B = S x S x D to calculate the Bradford score. The Bradford score measures an employee's absence rate over a set period, with a higher score indicating a higher absence rate.

  5. Compare the Bradford score to a benchmark or target value to assess the employee's attendance record. This can help you identify trends in absence rates and make informed decisions about addressing attendance issues.

  6. Review and update the Bradford score regularly to track employee attendance changes. This can help you identify any changes in absence patterns and take appropriate action to address them.

Pro tip: Use the Bradford factor calculator to calculate the Bradford scores.

What is an acceptable Bradford score?

There's no universally accepted "good" Bradford score. It can vary depending on the industry, company size, and specific role. However, a generally lower score indicates fewer and shorter absences, which is desirable.

What is a bad Bradford score?

A high Bradford score suggests a pattern of frequent, short-term absences. This can be disruptive to team dynamics, workload distribution, and overall productivity. While there's no single "bad" score threshold, HR professionals might use Bradford scores as a trigger to investigate potential underlying reasons for frequent absences and explore solutions with the employee.

When does the Bradford score reset?

The Bradford score typically resets after a set period, most commonly a year. This means an employee's score starts fresh at the beginning of each new assessment period.

Benefits of using the Bradford score in your hiring process


There are several benefits to using the Bradford Score in your hiring process:

Improved hiring accuracy

The Bradford Score is a predictive tool that helps identify the most suitable candidates for a given role based on their past job performance and work style. This can help improve the accuracy of hiring decisions and reduce the risk of making a poor hire.

Reduced time and effort

The Bradford score can save time and effort in hiring by providing a standardized assessment of candidates that can be quickly and easily reviewed by hiring managers. This can reduce the number of interviews and other time-consuming activities required to make a hiring decision.

Increased diversity

By using the Bradford score to assess candidates based on their skills and fit for the role rather than their characteristics or biases, organizations can increase diversity in their hiring practices and improve the overall inclusivity of their workplace.

Enhanced team performance

Organizations can improve team performance and productivity by hiring well-suited individuals for the role and the team. The Bradford score can help identify candidates likely to thrive in the team environment and contribute to the organization's success.

Cost savings

Using the Bradford Score can help organizations save money by reducing the cost of onboarding and training new hires who may need a better fit for the role or the team. It can also help reduce the cost of turnover, as organizations are less likely to experience high levels of turnover with well-matched hires.

Alternatives of Bradford score in HR

Some of the alternatives include:

The 'Lost Time' rate

This method measures the time an employee or team is absent from work due to illness, injury, or other reasons.

The lost time rate is calculated by dividing the total amount of time lost due to absenteeism by the total number of hours worked by the employee or team.

This rate can be used to identify absenteeism trends and areas where improvements can be made to increase productivity.

The 'Frequency' rate

This method measures the number of times an employee or team experiences an adverse event, such as an accident, injury, or illness.

The frequency rate is calculated by dividing the number of adverse events by the number of hours worked by the employee or team.

This rate can identify trends in adverse events and areas where improvements can be made to increase safety and productivity.

These measures can be used in conjunction with, or as alternatives to, the Bradford score to provide a more comprehensive understanding of employee or team productivity.

What is the best way of measuring absence?

There are several types of employee absences, such as employee unplanned absences, short-term absences, absence instances, sporadic absences, and more. So, the best way of measuring absence is to measure it according to its type.

For example, if you want to measure unplanned employee absences, you can use the Bradford score. On the other hand, if you want to measure sporadic absences, you can use the frequency rate.

Ultimately, it's important to choose an appropriate method that can accurately measure employee absence and provide you with reliable data. This will help you identify any trends or areas of improvement in your workplace, so you can make the necessary changes to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency.

Manage leave and absence with ease!

Manage leave and absence with ease!

  • Automatic accrual of vacation hours
  • Request leave easily
  • Leave registrations visible in the planning
Try for free Request a demo

Final thoughts

In conclusion, the Bradford Score is a method for measuring employee absence in the workplace. It involves calculating an absence score for each employee, which measures the total number of days the employee has been absent over a set period.

The Bradford score can be used to identify employees with high levels of absence and to understand the impact of absence on an organization. Organizations can develop strategies to reduce absenteeism and improve productivity using the Bradford score to track employee absences.

Manage Absenteeism Proactively with Shiftbase

Understanding employee absence patterns is crucial for effective workforce management. The Bradford score, a metric that factors in absence frequency and duration, can be a valuable tool in this process. However, manually calculating and tracking these scores can be time-consuming.

Shiftbase, a comprehensive workforce management SaaS, simplifies absence management. Our software tracks absences automatically within our employee scheduling module, eliminating the need for manual calculations. This allows HR professionals to identify patterns and potential issues sooner, and intervene when necessary. See for yourself how

Shiftbase can streamline your absence management - try our free 14-day premium plan today!

Topic: HRM
Carin Vreede

Written by:

Carin Vreede

With years of experience in the HR field, Carin has a lot of experience with HR processes. As a content marketer, she translates this knowledge into engaging and informative content that helps companies optimize their HR processes and motivate and develop their employees.


Please note that the information on our website is intended for general informational purposes and not as binding advice. The information on our website cannot be considered a substitute for legal and binding advice for any specific situation. While we strive to provide up-to-date and accurate information, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the information on our website for any purpose. We are not liable for any damage or loss arising from the use of the information on our website.