5 Signs You Need to Update Your Absence Management Processes

pexels-photo (4).jpgAbsenteeism costs companies approximately $3000 per year per employee, a cost that can add up fast over time. Companies that want to manage that cost need to put processes in place that address the underlying causes of absenteeism as well as guide employees and managers in carrying out that process. Consider whether your company is experiencing these five signs that it’s time to update your absence management processes. 

You Can’t Quantify Types of Absences

While some companies operate using “paid time off”, not all absences are created equally. Planned absences for vacations, appointments, and time with family are obviously preferred but even unplanned absences may need to be quantified. A death in the family is tragic, unavoidable, and ultimately shouldn’t rate the same as an employee regularly playing hooky. When your absence management process doesn’t include types of absences, good employees can be written up for unavoidable tragedies.  

Absences are Logged Days or Weeks Later

How soon does the owner or CEO of your business know about an absence? In small offices, it may be immediate but if a company is operating using paper schedules or punch clocks, it could be quite a bit longer. This lag can result in management not being able to address productivity issues or stress within departments. When upper level employees can’t track the immediate staffing levels of each department, it’s time to seriously overhaul the process. 

You Regularly Pay Overtime for Scheduled Absences

Overtime may be inevitable depending on workload but it doesn’t need to be a constant companion in your employees' timesheets. Often, overtime is the result of poor planning rather than actual need. Take a hard stance against overtime to encourage managers to staff appropriately for absences and provide training in using your workforce management system to identify when overtime is being accrued and which employees have training to fill different positions to avoid that overtime. 

Your Employees Don’t Know the Process

If your employees can’t easily find your absence management process, you may be facing a serious problem. Employees need to have a clear understanding of job expectations, which includes the process for being absent. Take an informal survey of employees to find out whether they know the company policies on absenteeism. If you find that employees hem and haw or can’t locate that information, it is time to make your process public and known. Post your policy in the break room or onto your workforce management software then ask employees to read the policy. Not only does this create a documentation trail for company records but also ensures that employees can correctly follow the absence process. 

Your Process is Too Rigid

There’s a fine line between creating a strict absence policy and having a restrictive policy. When companies continually find the same pattern of absences or absences where managers knew their employees wouldn’t be present, it may be time to determine if your policy is too rigid. Allowing some flexibility in your process can help employees feel more empowered to fill in gaps in the schedule. Allowing employees to switch shifts, flex their time, and work on alternative days can help ease managerial burden and increase employee engagement. 

Absence management processes can easily become outdated or ineffective. Consistently keeping up with advances in technology as well as keeping on the pulse of your workforce can help you stay ahead rather than becoming obsolete.  Check for these five signs that your absence management process needs improvement.