Reducing Employee Absenteeism – 4 Approaches to Consider
Ask any business owner what is the most pressing problem when it comes to productivity. The majority will tell you that it’s workplace absenteeism. Workplace absenteeism is unavoidable. It’s only natural that employees will be absent from work. To what degree they are absent is a matter of discussion.
When addressing workplace absenteeism, business and management must ask themselves, “Are our employees absent because they don’t like their job or are they having serious personal issues?” Determining the underlying factors are causing employee absenteeism, they must find a practical approach towards reversing the trend to days away from the desk.
Workplace absenteeism can be attributed to personal problems.
The magnitude of personal and family issues can hamper an employee’s commitment to their job and overall productivity. Personal problems can be financial, interpersonal or even health related. Instead of threatening employees with termination, employers now offer assistance programs. These programs offer employees services to help them deal with issues confronting them.
As much as personal problems contribute to excessive employee absenteeism, workplace environment can be a factor too. Workplace environment includes inept management, toxic employees, excessive workload, poor communication, and unorthodox business practices. Such factors cause confusion, fear, lack of confidence, anger, and outright revolt. These factors serve as the reason why employees choose to stay away from work.
There’s plenty of published research supporting claims why supervisor conflicts are grounds why employees quit their jobs. It is important that managers that are properly trained not only in their trade but convey excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Constantly seeking effective ways to reduce employee absenteeism, managers and HR departments have come up with several ideas. Ideas which prove to be effective include, creating a written policy, address management expectations, hold employees accountable for their actions, acknowledge exceptional attendance and offer employee outreach programs.
1. Corporate Attendance Protocol
Create an attendance protocol that addresses the organization’s position. Explicitly define terms such as tardiness, late and overdue. Explain the parameters associated with being tardy, late, and overdue, and what constitutes their application to specific situations. Initiate stringent time and date standards defining excessive employee absenteeism.
Case in point, tardiness may be defined as arriving for work 15 minutes late. Late is arriving for work 30 minutes after a designated start time and overdue is arriving 60 minutes from when being expected. Excessive absenteeism is described as not reporting for work leaving work early or unexcused absences so many days within a calendar month or year.
2. Define Attendance Expectations
Hold individual meetings or group discussions with the workforce addressing the workplace employee attendance requirements and expectations. Employee attendance protocol shall be seamless and any change in set protocol shall be at the discretion of the business owner or management.
Require employees during employee orientation or annual review to sign off on the attendance protocol. Inform all employees unforeseen absences are acceptable, but limitations exist. Discuss participation in the employee assistance program if absences continue.
3. Recognize Stellar Attendance
Recognize employees for perfect attendance records during quarterly periods or annually. Make attendance an instrumental cog in the performance review process. Discuss with employees how attendance, productivity, and compensation are linked.
Acknowledge stellar attendance with job promotions, compensation, and perks, such as extra vacation time. Make perfect attendance employees a shining example of productivity and show to others the value of attending work.
4. Employee Outreach Programs
Employee dismissal tied to an absentee issue is not always the best solution. Dismissal places a burden on other employees to pick up the dismissed employee’s workload. It forces HR administrators to search for a replacement which is time-consuming and costs money.
Either by offering an in-house or an outplacement employee outreach program, employees can find possible solutions to their personal issues. By reaching out the employee, they feel their employer cares about them and wants to help them succeed on the clock and off the clock too. Some employees become isolated, fell all alone and resort to absenteeism to counter their personal issues.
Absenteeism creates a wall between the employee and management. It stifles communication and productivity. Outreach programs start a conversation between the organization and the employee. Job reassignment, counseling, and flex-time work scheduling are options towards resolving absenteeism.
Credit for this small business article goes to NECHES FCU, Port Neches, TX.
Neches FCU is a Texas Credit Union with a long history of service to it’s wide base of members. Their core objective is one of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction.” They are well-known for an enthusiastic work atmosphere, delivering a memorable service experience, and where members are known by name.