As the weather turns warm and pleasant and thoughts begin to shift toward summer vacation ideas, the rate of employee absenteeism inevitably creeps up this time of year. While many employees view skipping a day or two of work to be a victimless crime, absenteeism represents a serious cost for employers, and it can be especially frustrating when employees miss work for trivial reasons. Unauthorized absenteeism can affect business efficiency, effectiveness, and quality.
Fortunately, there are steps that every employer or HR department can take to help reduce absenteeism over the summer and all year long. While our first instinct is often to crack down on employees abusing the rules regarding absences, the most effective techniques for eliminating absenteeism may surprise you. Here are four tips KRESS recommends to keep your employees showing up on time and ready to work:
1. Demonstrate your appreciation.
If employees believe that their work is valuable and appreciated, it provides a strong psychological incentive not to miss work. If they dread coming in to work every day or feel as though they won’t be missed, it becomes much easier to skip a day or two now and then. Make sure your team knows that they are appreciated and cared for. Effective gestures can be as simple as providing breakfast once a month or having an open-door policy that allows employees to open up to you when they need advice. Be consistent with your appreciation.
2. Leave enough room to have a life.
When there is no work-life balance, employees are more inclined to justify a day off. In fact, burnout and overwork is the number-one reason most employees skip work occasionally. An employee who is unable to maintain a healthy social and family life outside of the office due to his or her workload is likely to stop showing up consistently. If you notice an employee is asking or taking a lot of time off, consider assessing their workload and if you deem that it is too much scale it back a bit. Small efforts in this area will be appreciated greatly by your staff.
3. Be flexible.
Common sense seems to tell us that instituting flexible working schedules for employees are bound to result in slacking off and less committed workers. Research indicates otherwise, however. Surveys indicate that flexible working schedules ultimately increase satisfaction, productivity, and employee engagement. Something as simple as allowing seasoned employees to work from home one day a week has the potential to reduce absenteeism significantly.
4. Hold workers accountable.
While the carrot is very effective at reducing absenteeism, don’t hesitate in using the stick, as well. Most workers are mature adults who know when they are skirting rules with absenteeism. While adhering to rules is important, what’s most critical is that each employee takes ownership of his or her own workload. Make it clear that you trust them to manage their own time and complete their own work, but that if that trust is broken, there will be consequences. Always be consistent in the application of both benefits and discipline.
At KRESS, we help employers maintain productive workforces in order to succeed. If you have questions about our tools for keeping more workers on the job, contact us today at 888-636-3693. For more tips on absenteeism and worker productivity, visit our downloadable resources page.