Absenteeism affects every employer in every industry. Absenteeism damages trust between managers, employees and teams. Absenteeism is a costly problem for many business owners. In a small business, the absence of a key employee can impact the company’s relationship with important customers. Absenteeism is not a root problem but a symptom of a variety of other issues. Understanding the root causes of absenteeism in your company will help you reduce many of these costs. Here are a few of the costs associated with absenteeism: benefits and salary paid to the absent employee, overtime paid to employees covering for the absent person, manager’s time needed to reschedule or rearrange work, lost productivity, and the cost of any temporary workers needed.

Develop an Absenteeism Policy

An absenteeism policy sets the company’s procedures for handling employee absences and tardiness. It is designed to promote the efficient operation of the company and minimize unscheduled absences. Punctual and regular attendance is an essential responsibility of each employee. Employees are expected to report to work as scheduled, on time and prepared to start working. Employees also are expected to remain at work for their entire work schedule. Late arrival, early departure or other absences from scheduled hours are disruptive. See Innovative Strategies for Reducing Absenteeism for a well written Attendance Policy Template.

Create a Paid Time Off (PTO) Bank

A PTO bank places all time off into the same category. Vacation days, personal days off and sick days are included. Employees can schedule PTO days as far in advance as possible. Any PTO not used can be converted to pay or carried over into future years to bank for future absence, such as leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Many employees will choose to take the pay or bank the time rather than take the time off. This will reduce the incentive to use up sick days that are usually offered in a use them or lose them arrangement.

Offer Comp Time

Comp time is when employers compensate their employees for overtime hours with paid time off (PTO), instead of overtime pay. The employee can take two days off the following week in lieu of overtime pay for the 16 hours they worked in excess of 40. To comply with federal and state labor laws, employers must follow specific procedures and protocols to institute a comp time system.

Address Job Satisfaction Problems

Employees with low job satisfaction are more likely to miss work with an unexcused absence. Managers need to administer job satisfaction surveys two or three times per year. These surveys can be custom designed for your specific needs and purposes. In general, there should be questions that evaluate employee opinions about: Workplace Environment, Opportunities for Growth, Workload Level, Stress Level, Satisfactions with Co-Workers, Satisfactions with Supervisors, and Satisfaction with Compensation and Benefits.

Assess Job Fit Before Hiring

Pre-employment assessments are widely used to assess job fit. There are many factors that can determine job fit including: learning speed; learning agility, ambition, communication skills, critical thinking skills, collaboration skills, honesty, conscientiousness and motivation. Candidates that aren’t a good fit for a job will eventually underperform in terms of engagement, performance, absenteeism and tenure. Job fit assessments will help you reduce absenteeism.

Provide Workplace Flexibility

Workplace flexibility is a strategy whereby an employer is willing to adapt when it comes to where, when and how the work gets done. It is an alternative to traditional workplace models that dictate when and where workers perform their work. Workplace flexibility should be viewed as a critical part of your company’s talent acquisition strategy. It allows your company to source and recruit talent anywhere in the country or the world. With the rise of communication tools such as Skype and Zoom video conferencing, distance is becoming less of a hurdle to collaborating with talent globally. Business operational costs are reduced and commutes are eliminated for employees.

When managers reduce absenteeism teams and individual employees thrive. But when they don’t, organizations and people suffer. If your managers are not effectively managing absenteeism, they are most likely a low performing manager. You can assess the competencies of your current managers by using an assessment tool like the CheckPoint 360 Survey. This assessment identifies managers who can drive results and profits by solving problems. Contact us to learn more.

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