How to Handle Employee Absenteeism in the Workplace

Workplace Absenteeism

Your workers can be absent for a variety of reasons. Sick days, maternity leave, vacation, and requested time off for family appointments are all common occurrences in the workplace.

Unexpected and unapproved absences from work, on the other hand, can cause problems in your workplace and create plenty of problems for both your company and your employees. It can have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line, revenues, efficiency, and growth.

Why Is Workplace Absenteeism a Problem?

Unfortunately, employee absenteeism is not uncommon; in reality, it is a common issue for employers and business owners, especially during economic downturns and unique challenges triggered by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Even before COVID, it was a concern because if workers don’t want to come to work, almost any excuse would suffice.

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According to Circadian Technologies, Inc., the estimated annual costs attributable to reduced productivity due to absenteeism in the United States are $3,600 per hourly employee per year and $2,650 per salaried employee per year. And those are estimated figures, so the expense adds up over time if you have hundreds or thousands of workers.

You must develop an employee attendance improvement plan, design consistent attendance policies, and provide a comprehensive solution for monitoring and controlling employee attendance if you want to significantly reduce the effect of employee absenteeism on your company’s bottom line.

But, in order to do so, you must address the root causes of your employees’ unplanned absences, such as vague rules, low job satisfaction, medical/injury issues, or time-tracking issues.

Ways to Handle Employee Workplace Absenteeism

Before adopting any of these steps, it is important to consider the causes of absenteeism in your workplace and try to solve the problem. It is important for the management to understand whether the employees’ absenteeism rate is higher because of workplace safety issues or for any other preventable reason. After finding out the root causes, the employer can adopt the following measures.

  • Establish an Attendance Policy for Employees

The first and most crucial suggestion is to establish a consistent attendance policy. This should lay out the guidelines for work absences, defining what includes an excused absence and what does not.

Preventive measures, clear policies, and facilitative rather than punitive programs will be appreciated by the majority of employees. Punitive measures will force employees to come to work, but they will become “absent while at work,” doing as little as possible, putting in no effort, and “counting the hours.”

Instead, try to assist employees with being present at work by providing options such as flexible work schedules, family care days, and job-sharing.

  • Increase Employee Morale

Talk to the staff to determine the best ways to raise morale, whether it’s through social activities like volunteer days or employee recognition days, improved staff recognition, or engaging in training and development opportunities or by maintaining workplace safety.

Surprisingly, one of the most important ways to maintain employee productivity is through training. In reality, up to 40% of workers who undergo inadequate or insufficient on-the-job training will leave the company within the first year. And when workers quit, the loss to companies is much higher than absenteeism.

  • Include a Safety and Wellness Plan

An efficient accident prevention and wellness program serves as the cornerstone for a safe work environment. The program should include all levels of employee safety and health, with an emphasis on encouraging employees to report potentially hazardous practices or activities.

Encourage employees and management to make safety a high priority at all times. Employees should be reminded as often as possible about the necessity of adhering to safety precautions. Body mechanics training can help employees avoid strain injuries while lifting and moving.

Following initial training, reinforce safety procedures whenever possible, such as during staff meetings, supervision, and conferences. Reward employees that follow the safety rules and stay injury-free for a certain period of time.

Unfortunately, no matter how well you plan, an accident or employee injury might still occur. If that happens, make sure you’re ready to get them the help they need as soon as possible.

The Bottom Line on Managing Absenteeism

Absenteeism in the workplace is a major issue for many companies, ranging from small local businesses to multinational corporations, but the root cause is often the same: it occurs when workers are unhappy, lack motivation or are suffering from injury or illness, and managers and supervisors do not have robust employee management and recordkeeping solutions in place.

CloudApper Safety is a reliable OSHA recordkeeping application that assists businesses in establishing a safer workplace while minimizing administrative workload. Our simple mobile app for OSHA recordkeeping and occupational injury and illness allows your employees to track injuries, accidents, near misses, and findings whenever and wherever they occur. As a result, it becomes easier for the managers to track the absenteeism rate of the employees due to workplace safety vs. other reasons. Through this application, an employer can understand whether the employee has taken leave for an injury/illness or for any other purpose.

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