In 2017 findings from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), revealed that on any given day, about 3% of a company's employees are absent from work. Employee absenteeism is one of the most significant challenges facing companies because it affects productivity and the company's bottom line. This costs U.S. companies billions of dollars yearly in wages and lost productivity due to poor quality of goods/services.
Due to the multiplying effect of absenteeism in the workplace, management must find the root cause of the absences. Is there a legitimate reason for an absence? Is the employee seeking ways to avoid work? Managers must be aware of patterns of absenteeism and learn how to address them effectively.
Impact of employee absenteeism
Excessive employee absenteeism affects your company's revenue and productivity. Findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows that employee absenteeism cost close to $84 billion in lost productivity across all industries.
Your business suffers when the rate of employee absenteeism gets too high. The workload becomes excessive for those who show up, and this could result in the poor decision due to stress and dissatisfaction among customers.
Excessive workplace absenteeism could create a negative impression of weak management in your co-workers. This could lead to the apprehension among your key staff about the company's future and may result in a flight to companies they consider more business savvy.
Excessive absenteeism leads to excessive workload and loss of confidence for employees who show up because they have to stand in for those not available. This could result in anger, resentment and loss of patience when dealing with co-workers and customers.
How to manage absenteeism
Many unforeseen circumstances could result in absenteeism, and this makes it very challenging to tackle. However, you can put in place policies that can minimize this and encourage staff to want to show up in the office. Some of these include:
Create an absent management policy
According to the Employment Policy Foundation, 50% of leave takers did not provide prior notice. By creating an absence management policy that is expected of all staff to abide by will reduce this occurrence. The policy will include procedures for reporting leave with an accrual management solution that includes who to report to, the purpose of the leave, the number of days permitted, paid or unpaid leave and more. This will minimize the occurrence of staff staying out without prior notice.
Encourage work-life balance
It is essential to create a work-life balance if you want to minimize absenteeism due to illness. This will allow employees' time to attend to other important things and will reduce the rate of employee exhaustion because of excessive workload.
Implement a mandatory paid sick-leave policy
This is a practice in some companies. This policy will allow your employees to take some days off every year to take care of their challenges and other things that could result in absenteeism.
You can minimize absenteeism by offering support to your employees with personal challenges, such as bereavement or having mental health problems. Support can be offered during the period of absence and after returning to the office. This would make such an employee feel loved and will want to return to work earlier.
Stress can be healthy or counterproductive. Some pressure is needed to bring out the best in your employees, but when it's excessive and toxic, it can lead to burnout resulting in a mental or physical breakdown.
Creating a workplace as a place where every employee feels respected, wanted, appreciated and valued remains the best way to manage employee absenteeism. A culture built on these foundational tenets adds value, retention and loyalty to the company's brand and future revenues.