How Can HR Prevent Excessive Employee Absenteeism

Employee Absenteeism

HR on Cloud, Leave & Attendance

Looking for a solution to reduce employee absenteeism? You have come at the right place.

If you are signing too many sick leaves these days….

If your workplace often appears to be short-staffed….

If you find many workstations empty on days before and after weekends…

Then….. It’s high time to track your absent staff and prevent excessive absenteeism.

Employee absenteeism is not a new problem. Since 1999, it has been observed that unscheduled absenteeism rates have reached the highest levels. On a normal workday, 3% of the total staff do not show up for work. It lowers the business productivity, undercuts teamwork and increases manpower costs, if the employer substitutes additional staff to accomplish pre-scheduled tasks for the day.

Now the question arises – is there anything that can be done about it?

When asked to express views on employee absenteeism, Gen. B.K. Bhatia, Director Products & HR at Saigun Technologies said,

“Absenteeism becomes an attitudinal sickness if not treated adequately at the initial stages. Managing attendance on a regular basis is a solution. Isolating cases of absence is a basic necessity. This has to be followed by the employees and their respective managers receiving absence alerts. These ‘alerts’ trigger the cycle of ‘mentoring’ by the manager. Mentoring emphasizes on employee discipline and its impact on the career of an individual.  Employee gets cautioned and avoids a repeat of the tendency to be ‘absent without leave’. This minimizes the chances of absenteeism becoming an attitudinal sickness.”

I totally agree on this! Employers link absenteeism with the employee’s performance and compensation to reduce overall rate of absenteeism. None of the employers is ever willing to give leaves at the cost of compromising work productivity and decreasing company finances. This is why there is a fix number of days offs mentioned in the company policies and the employees are expected to abide them.

Here are a few suggestions to prevent excessive absenteeism at work. Let’s take a quick look at them.

Set a Policy

Every employee should be aware of the company policy that he/ she is liable to take a day off only when the person informs the supervisor, through call or email. Leaving a text message to the HR or manager should not be counted.

Return-to-work Interview

Most of the employers may or may not believe in conducting return to work interviews.

In simple words, a return-to-work interview is conducted to keep a track presence and absence of employees. Usually, this action is taken when employees are most likely to claim illness as the main reason for their unexpected absence.

Not necessarily in all cases, but return-to-work interview becomes important when illness becomes a common trend for many employees to take day offs. These HR and employee interactions become a fear factor for employees giving false reasons and taking odd day offs.

Document Leaves/ Ask for Evidences

Not all employees are irresponsible to take unscheduled leaves. However, when a person is on a sick leave, make sure to ask for any medical certificate explaining the claim of illness. The company policies should cover a clause like this.

Disciplinary Offensive

As excessive absenteeism harms the productivity and team morale, it is necessary to notify this to the team members. If any clause (regarding leaves) in the employment contract is offended, it should be counted as a disciplinary violation.

Respect Employees Rights

It is essential to monitor individual absenteeism of employees to let them make best use of their leave policy. Employees taking leaves for long-term illness should be treated well and sympathetically. Respect their rights and do not bother them with unnecessary questioning.

Analyze Correlations

HR should analyze the repetitive leave patterns of individual employees as well as a group of employees.If employee takes leave on a particular weekday over and over again, or if a particular group of people don’t show up on the same day, then don’t ignore these patterns.

In such cases, monitor the overall absence levels at the workplace and try to analyze the correlation. Conduct meetings with employees to discuss these correlations and solve the leave issue.

Establish Healthy & Happy Work Environment

No doubt, a happy workplace adds more to the productivity of an employee. Ensure the work conditions and environment is organized, safe and well-ventilated.

Motivate and Engage Employees

If your employees are not willing to show up at work, there is something you need to think about.

Keep motivating and engaging your employees by conducting fun activities, employee surveys, team outings, training sessions and other career development activities to sustain interest of the workforce.

Read and implement the top global HR trends 2024 to build a highly engaged and productive workforce.

Family-friendly Policies

Absenteeism can be controlled if employees are encouraged to take time off when they really need it. For example, it is a good idea to allow your employees to take leave on their birthdays or anniversaries or any other important day in their life.

Other than these ways, it is also necessary for HR people and managers to lead as examples. If managers/ HR are good at setting ideal example for employees, it will automatically motivate them to take personal time off only for the legitimate reasons and stop acting careless.

At last, pick this important mantra and nail it ….

Do not ignore absenteeism at all… instead be active to monitor, analyze and act to prevent employees taking too many unscheduled leaves.

TAGS: Employee Absenteeism, High Absenteeism, HR, Managing Employee Absenteeism, Reasons of Absenteeism

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