Absenteeism Management: The Missing Links for HRs to Fix

April 12, 201712:32 pm2722 views

What makes absenteeism difficult to manage? One of the possible reasons is because you cannot set an individual parameter. You might already have attendance policy in the employee handbook, that clearly states the number of paid, sick, and annual leaves an employee is entitled to, in a given year. Yet, you cannot predict the number of annual employee leaves, also maintaining account on the reason for absence at work, makes this process even more cumbersome. What should you do to fix absenteeism management?

While providing paid leave for employees, it is mandatory for every business leader to pay close attention to, how the workers take advantage of the allocated free days. Some absences are genuinely legitimate, such as due to severe medical conditions or urgent life events. However, sometimes absenteeism can turn out to be mere excuses to avoid job responsibility.

In the latter case, employees tend to provide ambiguous reasons for not being present at work, such as minor illness and other made-up pleas. Most employers expect their employees to take minimal leaves every year, beyond the allocated sum. Yet, excessive absenteeism without any solid explanations causes disruption in the workflow in a team.

You might never know, that your employee perhaps is taking a days off due to excessive burnout or is even on job hunting. If you fail to identify the root cause of this problem and address it immediately, then this could lead to enormous productivity loss, declining profits, and shrinking morale.

If you are wondering why your absenteeism management system doesn’t improve over the years, then take a look at the following missing links in your strategy:

See: Most Line Managers are Underprepared to Manage Absenteeism at Work

  1.    Set up a detailed attendance policy

First of all, you have to make sure that the organisation has already set up an attendance policy. Even, if you are running a small-scale business with less than 10 employees, you should formalise the course of action in case of excessive absenteeism by printing them into a written policy.

Within the handbook, it is crucial to include the definition of tardiness, procedure for taking absenteeism, as well as other details. Make sure that everything’s explained clearly, so it will not provide any room for ambiguous misinterpretation.

  1.    Communicate expectations at onset

One of the biggest mistake made by employers regards absenteeism management is that, they don’t socialise the policy with employees. During onboarding program, new hires are left only with thick and boring employee handbook.

While they can read the employee handbook by themselves, misunderstanding is bound to happen. Therefore, HR leaders should take time to communicate the company’s expectations, right at the beginning during employee onboarding.

  1.    Evaluate the company culture

Bullying, harassment, and excess stress could also be the reason why your employee skips days. Do your homework well, to find out if the problem actually comes from within. If your findings indicate one of the above issues, you should evaluate your company culture and fix the problems accordingly.

  1.    Support the employee

Sometimes, employees are staying off work because they are genuinely experiencing difficult times of life. You should lend a helping hand and support them to deal with personal concerns that might affect their attendance at the workplace.

Not only helping them to navigate through the personal crisis situation, this will make your employees feel valued and respected. Additionally, the company needs to encourage healthy lifestyle and initiate wellness programs to reduce sickness-related absenteeism.

  1.    Reward excellent attendance and performance

Rewarding regular attendees at work with incentives and performance bonus, can be one of the ways to encourage regular attendance of employees. You can also integrate attendance rate as a part of the annual performance appraisal, such that employees will see how their presence is accounted and makes a difference to affect overall team workings.

Committed employees are the lifeblood of a successful organisation, and minimum absenteeism is one of the benchmarks of their engagement. If excessive absenteeism is a hindrance to employee’s productivity, you should start keeping track and monitoring your employees’ presenteeism rate at work.

The best advice will be to implement open communication channels, listen to your employees, and conduct necessary assessments to reduce absenteeism rate now and thus, avoid voluntary employee turnover in the longer run.

Read also: 5 Tell-Tale Signs that Your Employee is Actively Disengaged

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