How to Solve Absenteeism and Engagement Problems

28 Sep

 The workplace is a stressful environment inherently filled with daily challenges, both in the tasks and the social environment surrounding it. These conditions can be hard for certain employees to deal with on a regular basis, and especially with the rise of remote working and cloud computing, businesses may have noticed that some staffers stay home more often than others.

There is a possibility that these people have underlying medical issues which HR personnel are not allowed to pry about, or there might be other factors outside the workplace that are making it difficult to get to the office reliably. For businesses that constantly deal with attendance and work quota problems, there may come a time when the cost of replacing an employee becomes a more frequently-asked question about problem people instead of talk about how to fix problems.

Working on the Workplace

There are some elements of the office that are harder to deal with than others, and these can vary from one person to the next. The first line of defense in absentee issues is the person’s direct supervisor. Human resources management should focus on training these frontline contacts to identify and address absenteeism issues appropriately, as a unified response to tardiness as well as not showing up at all needs to be dealt with strongly. If a manager gives the impression that an absence has no negative impact, an employee may perpetuate the behavior.

Providing an employee self-service portal is one of the best ways of reducing absenteeism from a knowledge standpoint, as these tools allow every person to review corporate policy on time and attendance, as well as review calendars, timesheets and available days off remaining for their use. These tools are great for HR personnel too, since they provide a way of tracking problems and creating attendance metrics.

Most importantly, companies need to make sure they have a policy in place regarding what is and is not acceptable for attendance standards. It may seem odd, but not every business does this; especially with small entities, owners assume that a person with a job will know that it is his or her responsibility to show up and be on time for every shift, but without a written policy, this can result in HR compliance fines should a person be let go for tardiness or absenteeism. What’s more, it is hard to enforce a rule when there are none in place. If there is a guideline in place, also be sure to review it regularly to avoid mistakes and maintain its relevance.

Monitor Problems

There are some times of the year that are more likely than others to incur high absentee rates across the board, but looking for trends on the individual basis will probably reveal more disturbing patterns. Leaving early and arriving late consistently, as well as calling out throughout the week, indicates an engagement problem that must be addressed.

Open Communication

If there is a clear problem with a worker, the worst thing that can be done is ignoring it or keeping the conversation away from that individual. Let a problem employee know that something must be done, set clear expectations and remind him or her of what is required for working at that business. Providing a singular message and never straying from that guideline will create an environment of integrity. This in turn could help boost employee loyalty among workers, as well as impress the need to be consistent and improve oneself for those who are below expectations.

Writing down issues is one of the best ways to track the patterns of behavior. This is much easier with integrated HRMS, since such a program can be accessed by privileged employees from any computer and can be monitored remotely as well. These tools allow for a higher level of analysis, management and feedback, using advanced computer programming to ensure that no detail is missed.

Office Impact

The bottom line of employee absenteeism is that one individual is not pulling his or her weight as part of the team, and this can create a ripple effect of deteriorating employee engagement. That one individual’s work will still need to be done, if the office is not equipped for or the work that must be done is not conducive to remote completion, and this will breed resentment and negative morale among the rest of the office staff.

Make consistent attendance a clear advantage for employees through praise and public acclimation. By putting those who regularly come to the office and do good work on a pedestal, it will enhance the image of what an exemplary employee should look like, discouraging negative tendencies among other workers.

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