Absenteeism is somewhat unavoidable if you have an organization. No matter how reliable your employees are, they may get sick or go on a leave. These reasons are understandable, and nobody is exempted from them.
Excessive absenteeism can be defined as an employee who’s regularly away from work. These absences may be because of unauthorized personal days, recurring long lunches, continuous tardiness, and repeated early departures from work.
Different companies have diverse definitions of excessive absenteeism. The number of days on which an employee is considered excessively absent also varies from one firm to the next. For example, an organization can consider 28 days away from work in a year as excessive absenteeism while another one may say 20 days.
One significant impact of excessive absenteeism is that it can negatively impact a company’s productivity. Additionally, this constant absence from work can cause the rest of the employees to lose their motivation and morale since they have to handle the tasks of the team member who didn’t show up. At first, it may seem like a minor issue, but in the long run, they may start developing some form of resentment and feel like they’re being overworked.
Therefore, develop an attendance improvement plan to help manage the employees who are usually away from work instead of terminating their work contract. After all, there are things better than terminating an employee for excessive absenteeism. It’d be good if you implement the following to help you in your organization:
1. Formulate An Absenteeism Policy
Some organizations may not know the importance of a clear absent management policy; thus, they run without strict rules regarding absenteeism. When this happens, employees tend to take advantage since they don’t take it as a serious issue, which isn’t right.
You’d want to have a policy with a clear definition of what your company considers excessive absenteeism. It should clearly outline disciplinary actions or consequences for violating the written rules.
Taking this measure can help prevent many absenteeism cases in your organization. However, one thing you ought not to forget while drafting the policy is leaves and holidays. It’d be best if you allow your employees to have a specific number of days off work annually. Also, they can take a rest whenever there’s a public holiday.
When drafting the policy, you need to ensure you’ve outlined how an employee should request leave correctly. Moreover, it’s critical to incorporate acceptable absences like medical, bereavement, maternity, and paternity leaves, as well as how to request them in the policy. You’d also want to discuss the implications of continuous tardiness and clarify whether it’s also part of excessive absenteeism.
It’s essential that you apply the policy consistently to reduce the chances of excessive absenteeism among employees. As much as you’re supposed to develop a clear policy, you must be flexible and prudent as a manager. This will help you use discretion when dealing with any absentee cases.
2. Use Absence Management Techniques
Tracking your employees is one effective absence management tool. It’s critical to help your team members adhere to the policies you’ve implemented. You can use a tracker to check and ascertain whether your team members are working on the delegated tasks.
This method can make things easier for you, especially if your organization pays hourly. You’ll be able to confirm the number of hours that the employee has been working and pay them accordingly. There’s a low likelihood that you’ll have payment disputes since they also have evidence of the hours tracked.
If you pay your employees according to the number of days they worked, you can allow them to record the days they’ve been working through an electronic system. They should specify their task while jotting down when they worked.
You can also create a point system, an absence management method that gives points to a worker who hasn’t shown up at work. If the points continue to accumulate, this means the team member is susceptible to bearing the excessive absenteeism consequences that have been stated in the policy. On the contrary, any team member without points can be applauded and rewarded for their diligence.
Using absence management tools helps ease employee evaluations more so because managers do them electronically.
3. Check Your Management Style
It’s human nature to blame the other person and fail to recognize your flaws. In this regard, if you’ve noticed that several employees have been missing work consistently, you’d want to confirm whether you’re the problem.
The first thing to do is assess whether you exhibit all the necessary leadership and managerial skills to handle employees. Also, you’d want to ascertain whether you’re using these skills effectively to manage your workers.
Some of the questions to ask yourself include:
- Do you treat all your workers fairly?
- Do you listen to their problems and concerns empathetically?
- Do you make them feel like a valued part of the organization?
- Do you consider whether you’re arrogant or rude?
- Do you consider whether you’re a friendly or a toxic boss?
Once you’ve answered these, you can ask two or three employees whether your management style fits. The other effective way to do it is by giving each employee a questionnaire and asking them the same questions.
If people have pointed out some common negative traits, it’s time to work on them. You can also give your team members other questionnaires asking for suggestions on how they want to be treated.
You never know, but maybe the day you apply this strategy and change your management style is when you’ll notice a reduction in excessive absenteeism.
4. Improve The Well-Being Of Employees
Create a positive environment where employees enjoy working in. As long as your team members are happy, then you can be sure of great productivity. Also, you’ll experience minimal cases of absenteeism.
Some ways to ensure that you take care of your worker’s well-being include:
- Creating mental health awareness
- Having mentorship programs to increase their satisfaction
- Encouraging them by using positive affirmations
- Having a flexible work schedule with breaks in between
5. Recognize Efforts And Give Rewards
Working in an environment where your efforts aren’t recognized or appreciated can discourage you. Thus, as a manager, it’s your role to identify excellent work being done and keep commending your workers. Also, it’d help if you give them rewards once in a while to help them stay motivated. They’ll also feel a sense of belonging in the organization.
If a particular employee has had a tendency to be late or absent but has started improving, it’s essential that you recognize their efforts. This will help them strive to do better and increase their overall efficiency.
You can also promote your workers from time to time, depending on their performance. This will inspire them to work harder and encourage them to be loyal to the company.
6. Set Up A Meeting With The Absentee
Another strategy for dealing with excessive absenteeism rather than firing is a one-on-one meeting with the absentee. You can decide to also invite the supervisor or HR to the meeting if necessary.
It’d be best to inform the workers beforehand that you’ve scheduled a meeting regarding their absenteeism, the venue, and the time. Once the team members have made themselves available, you must have an open mind. Avoid blindsiding the workers and listen to them without prejudice.
With this attitude, the employee will calmly explain themselves, and you’ll also be able to tell them your expectations. Depending on their reasons, you can easily decide a way forward and ask them to provide you with a plan on how they intend to improve. Ideally, by the time the meeting ends, you should have reached a consensus and agreed on how you’ll work.
7. Allow Remote Working
With modern advancements in technology, employees can now work from home. Sometimes, employees take sick days to handle a situation like waiting for the plumber or attending their kid’s school meeting.
This can change if an employee knows that the organization has embraced remote working because they’re sure there are days when they won’t be going to the office. Thus, they can plan their schedule to balance work and personal matters.
8. Ensure That Your Employees Are Engaged
There are organizations where you find that most employees are idle, yet the managers expect them to be motivated to go to the office. This may not work since the team members will either look for a side hustle or go somewhere else where they’ll be proactive.
You need to ensure effective employee engagement and participation in the organization’s activities. The reason is that the more an employee works, the higher the chances of developing a strong emotional connection to other team members and their work, which could mean greater output and meager absenteeism chances.
You don’t have to terminate an employee’s contract due to excessive absenteeism. Instead, you can allow them to work from home, use absent management techniques, develop an absenteeism policy, and recognize and reward their efforts.
You’d want to incorporate all the above strategies into your organization. In that case, you can be sure that a few workers will be missing work unannounced and your organization will be more productive.