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Employee absenteeism refers to employees who are frequently absent from work without providing a reason or consulting with their supervisor. It does not include paid time off or excused absences, such as maternity leave.
Excessive absence may have a negative impact on your company’s income and productivity, as well as employee happiness.
According to recent research, employee absenteeism costs US businesses an estimated $19 billion annually in lost productivity and the hiring and training of temporary workers.
To ensure that your workers follow the necessary processes and notify you ahead of time, you must first understand the most common reasons for absence. This will assist you in developing an acceptable employee attendance policy and taking the required measures to reduce absenteeism.
Read on to learn about our eight suggestions for lowering employee absenteeism.
How Can Absenteeism Impact Your Business?
Employee absenteeism is any unexpected absence from work due to illness or other authorized reasons. This almost always refers to unapproved leaves.
Excessive absenteeism may have negative consequences for the employer, the employee, and their team. Employer absenteeism can have a variety of effects which may include the following:
- Absenteeism can have a ripple effect throughout an organization, leading to decreased productivity and higher costs.
- Unplanned absences often require coworkers to take on additional tasks, which can lead to burnout.
- Chronic absenteeism can be a sign of more significant problems in the workplace, such as low morale or job dissatisfaction.
- Absenteeism can have a significant impact on your business’s bottom line. This is because employees who are absent often need to be replaced, which can lead to increased overtime costs and lower productivity.
- Staff absences also lead to higher staff turnover rates, which can be costly and disruptive for businesses.
It’s natural to be absent for various reasons, such as being sick. However, if this becomes a pattern, the employee’s frequent absences may be a symptom of underlying concerns.
You must be wondering, “Are there any ways to reduce employee absenteeism?” Read the next section to know the answer.
Top 8 Ways to Reduce Employee Absenteeism in Your Workforce
1. Measure Absence
You can take a proactive approach by measuring employee absenteeism and taking steps to get employees back on track. This can include setting up an email or text reminder system, offering behavioral coaching, or calling employees who miss work.
Keep track of every absence and evaluate it. You can also conduct brief surveys with your employees as they return from sick leave to determine whether they’re getting better, what their living conditions are like, or if they have any financial struggles, etc., all of which may help you reach out with appropriate assistance.
And finally, you might want to consider expanding your employee benefits package: a higher salary for full-time workers that comes with healthcare benefits might be more attractive.
While you’re tracking absences, don’t forget about your full-time employees. Try to understand why they’re absent and how you can reduce their absences.
For example, you may be able to make them more comfortable with paid leave by giving them extra days off or flexible hours. You could also see if your employee assistance program or insurance provider has resources for what troubles them so that you can provide additional support for issues like childcare, substance abuse, domestic violence, and chronic illnesses—all of which may contribute toward employee absenteeism.
Follow Appropriate Procedures
When you’re trying to combat employee absenteeism, start by following all appropriate internal procedures.
Let employees know ahead of time what types of absences will be considered unexcused and what they can do if they have a valid reason for an absence.
What constitutes a valid excuse?
It varies but can include anything from serious illnesses or family emergencies to mandatory training sessions. When devising your absenteeism policy, consult with your human resources department about how frequently and for how long employees are allowed to take off work.
When you have an absenteeism policy, follow it consistently. Don’t make exceptions for certain employees, and don’t be tempted to look away when employees come in late or take too much time off.
Offer Flexible Scheduling
We all know that stress can take a toll on us. Some people deal with stress by working more, and others deal with it by pushing themselves away from work. If you want committed and passionate employees about their work, you should do your best to help them manage stress at home or elsewhere.
Offer flexible scheduling, encourage employees to schedule time off for vacation, and make sure everyone knows that he or she is allowed to disconnect from work outside of regular business hours. Allowing employees some leeway will enable them to be happier—and their happiness will show up in their performance.
Of course, one of your employees may have a family emergency that requires him or her to be away from work for a period of time. Make sure your employees know that you won’t hold it against them if they use their allotted vacation time or call in sick when they need to.
Employees who feel like their work environments are flexible and trust their employers are more likely to stick around longer. Employers can also see an increase in employee productivity.
Educate Managers on How to Deal with Absences
The best way to combat absenteeism is often a combination of employee education and manager support. If possible, train your managers on how to deal with individuals who may have attendance issues. This can be helpful for both parties.
Meet with each employee’s manager and explain their job duties and expectations surrounding attendance. Including your company’s attendance policy will ensure everyone understands what steps they should take if employees begin having problems with their schedules.
To make it easier on your managers, consider creating an individualized absence-tracking spreadsheet or automated reminder tool that notifies them when certain employees will be out of the office. These simple steps can help minimize frustration and ensure everyone stays focused on their job.
5. Use Absence Management Tools
Investing in absence management tools will help track employee attendance, allow managers to see where issues are cropping up, and give your HR department more insight into why employees may be missing work.
These tools can make it easier for managers and employees alike by providing a visual representation of attendance on their computer or smartphone, allowing them to identify patterns that might otherwise go unnoticed. The end result is fewer absences, higher productivity from your workforce, and increased employee engagement.
The use of absence management tools shouldn’t replace face-to-face conversations about performance; instead, it should bridge performance discussions and create more impactful change.
Workstatus is a powerful employee attendance management software that helps you keep track of staff attendance throughout the organization. It can assist you in the following ways:
- Keep HR informed about authorized absences.
- Allow staff to plan their absences.
- Its online timesheet tracker enables supervisors to track late arrivals and unexpected absences.
- Track the attendance of remote employees with GPS tracking.
Productivity reports show which team members were absent, present, late, or half-present on any date or a specified date range. This will help you keep track of an employee’s attendance and address unplanned absences if they become a pattern.
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6. Reward Employees Who Have Good Attendance
The idea of improving employee attendance may sound straightforward enough, but if you want to take a more direct approach, you should begin by tracking and rewarding those employees who are always on time.
If a handful of your staff consistently shows up early or stays late, give them some kind of reward, be it extra days off or money in their paycheck.
You should also develop ways to encourage your employees, like considering offering shift swaps or other opportunities for additional days off if they meet specific attendance goals.
Another way you can improve employee attendance is by giving employees more opportunities for choice. If they are allowed to pick their shifts, you will likely see an improvement in both their morale and their overall productivity.
This will also help them get a better idea of what hours are best for them instead of being told when they have to work.
7. Update Company Policies Regularly
Update company policies regularly to prevent employee absenteeism. Implement an online timesheet software solution that enables managers and employees to track time from any device. It doesn’t require any special software or mobile apps.
You just need a web browser and an internet connection to run online timesheets. These easy-to-use tools can also be installed on multiple devices such as laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones so your employees can fill out their timesheets wherever they are located.
If desired, add an automated email feature that sends automatic reminders for those who forget to fill out their timesheets before 5 p.m.
Update policies such as time off and sick leave regularly so employees are familiar with what is allowed.
Also, consider having an automated system that will alert managers if an employee has taken more time off than their policy allows. This can help reduce unscheduled absences and promote a healthier workplace culture where each member feels valued.
8. Conduct a Regular Program of Staff Development
If the goal of your organization is to improve employee attendance, one of your priorities should be to ensure that you have a regular staff development program in place.
Staff development programs help ensure that employees can keep up with training and other requirements as they change their roles or take on new projects within their jobs. Employees who feel supported by their employers and given opportunities for professional growth will be much less likely to call in sick or leave early.
Make sure that an employee’s level of training doesn’t just match their needs but exceeds them so they can exceed expectations in their job too.
Employees who feel like they’re not growing professionally tend to look elsewhere for career paths that better suit them.
While implementing these strategies may seem like a lot of work, the benefits to your business are clear. By reducing employee absenteeism, you can improve workplace productivity and reduce costs associated with lost time. Implementing just a few of these strategies can help make your workforce more productive and less likely to miss work.
Reducing work absenteeism may appear to be a difficult task, but it isn’t.
You can reduce unplanned leaves by implementing health programs, improving communication channels, and adopting a practical attendance policy.
However, each employee may require different arrangements.
That is why, to help your employees accomplish their professional goals, you must make sure that your policy is adaptable enough to accommodate everyone and assist them in doing so.
Try Workstatus to get an unmatched employee attendance tracking experience for yourself.