Employees can come up with some very creative reasons for not showing up to work. Some of them plan ahead. They tell everyone they’re sick on Thursday, making their Friday absence appear logical.
Others are more spontaneous. They toss in a few hacking coughs while leaving a voicemail for their supervisor moments before the time they’re due to report to work.
We know that some employee absences can be legitimate, even at the last minute. And sometimes we all need R&R beyond Saturday and Sunday, which reflects the proper use of paid time off if planned ahead.
But unproven chronic absenteeism puts a financial strain on your company. Paid or unpaid time off and incomplete tasks (as the result of frequent absences) drain company resources when abused.
Harshly addressing the issue can be counterproductive – that approach often leads to unhappy employees who simply call in sick more frequently or spitefully neglect to carry out tasks while at work.
So how do you prevent or stop employees from playing hooky? Here are some suggestions:
1. Set Preventive Policies in Place
Company policies on absenteeism should be shared with employees before they begin their first day of work.
But in one study 32% of U. S. businesses, 13% of Australian companies, and one-third of European organizations reported not to have such a policy in place. Attendance policies set standards for employees and outline the company’s approach to reinforcing those policies. Make sure yours is intact.
2. Be Consistent
When addressing concerns with absenteeism, always consistently respond to the issue according to company guidelines. When you’re inconsistent, your employees won’t take you seriously, and it’s unlikely that they’ll heed to your warnings – which intensifies the problem.
3. Show a Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T
89% of employees surveyed in a study conducted by Harvard Business Review reported higher job satisfaction and enjoyment when they felt respected by company leaders. These individuals also reported higher levels of focus and 55% of them were more engaged. All of these factors lead to lower rates of absenteeism.
4. Make Adjustments
- Could it be that your frequently absent employee is bored? The original hiring position is not always a good match, and it could take months for either of you to realize that his or her skill set exceeds the scope of the position.
- Are there scheduling problems?
- Are job duties a poor match for that employee’s personality?
Consider making necessary adjustments to help keep your employees engaged.
5. Clear the Air
Toxic work environments have reportedly cost employers in the U.S. close to $24 billion each year. Workplace tension intimidates employees, cuts into their productivity, and most obviously, makes them want to play hooky. Clear the air by training senior management to be:
- More communicative than domineering
- More encouraging than insulting
- Employee advocates who’ll terminate the ones who continuously cause problems for their coworkers
Most importantly, lead by example. Demonstrate commitment to yourself, your company, and your employees, and you’ll be a leader whose behaviors positively influence the entire staff.
How do you address chronic absenteeism in the workplace?