Employee absenteeism takes a toll on businesses. It increases employee stress, reduces productivity, and strains already terse work environments. As a manager, the reduction of employee absenteeism is a priority, but putting a plan in place to address it can be a challenge. Use these four ways to reduce absenteeism in your workplace while still keeping production high.
Hold Employees Accountable
Are you truly holding your employees accountable for their time at work? If you don't have clear cut rewards and consequences for adhering to or disregarding the attendance policy, you need to put one in place. Many managers think that simply having a policy in place is good enough, but never enforce that policy, or only enforce that policy when it's convenient for them.
If you don't already have a policy in place, write an attendance policy that sets out clear guidelines about work hours, being late and absenteeism. Clearly lay out how employees ask for time off and how much time off they accrue. Then, create a set of consequences that your employees must adhere to and you must enforce. A workforce management system is a great way to implement this type of policy because it makes tracking and enforcement easy for both employees and managers. By holding employees accountable for their attendance, managers can reduce absenteeism in their workplace.
Address Workplace Stress
One of the biggest causes of absenteeism has nothing to do with your employees' job duties, it has to do with the environment. No one wants to walk into an office where there's widespread gossip about them or an angry boss breathing down their throat. Employees who work in these kinds of environments take more "mental health days" and have higher rates of absenteeism.
Take steps to address and reduce workplace stress. Hold open forums with employees to discuss job stressors and potential solutions. If you witness or overhear bullying in the workplace, immediately stop and resolve it. While work will never rival time off, making the workplace a calmer and gentler environment can reduce employee absenteeism.
Whether it's the death of a spouse or a sudden illness, there are times when absenteeism is inevitable. Workplaces that offer support and encouragement rather than hostility and resentment get their employees back faster and negate the loss in productivity. Work with employees when they are dealt with a personal loss or change. Talk to employees to see if a schedule adjustment or telecommuting would help them. In today's digital age, there's more ways to be at work while not physically in the building.
Reward Health and Wellness
Illness is a part of life, but encouraging a healthy lifestyle can reduce the amount of sick time needed. Creating a health and wellness program is a tactic that employers can use to reduce absenteeism and improve the general health of staff. Offer insurance discounts for joining a gym or a free flu shot to employees each year. Encourage wellness by offering healthy snacks in the break room or fitness classes after work. Implementing healthy initiatives not only reduce absenteeism due to illness, but keeps employees engaged and provides a benefit that can attract top-tier candidates when hiring.
Absenteeism can't be eliminated but it can be reduced. Ensuring that your attendance policy is clear and enforced is one way to reduce absenteeism but offering flexibility during crises, rewarding healthy behavior, and reducing stress in the workplace can also go a long way in keeping employees clocked in when they are scheduled to work. Implement these four tactics to reduce absenteeism in your workplace and watch those unexpected absences drop.