Absenteeism and how to deal with it
Chronic absenteeism can kill a business by a thousand cuts. Absenteeism affects your ability as a company to make sales, look after customers, comply with regulatory requirements, and more. You plan your workday and the workdays of your staff based upon the resources that you believe you’ll have available to you. If those resources aren’t there (and you only find out ten minutes before opening), chaos can often ensue as the people who do actually turn in have to do far more than they were expecting. Customers wait longer on the phone, orders don’t get dispatched, staff get stressed – it’s really not very good.
How can you tackle it? Here is the Panthera guide.
Keep a track of it
As soon as somebody takes a day off outside of their annual leave, keep a record of it. Start to gather up all the data on who is taking time off and when. You can then refer to this data down the line if you are unsure whether this is becoming a common problem amongst one or more specific employees.
You may find that one employee in particular is taking an abnormal amount of time off. If this is the case, then consider their individual circumstances. There might well be a legitimate reason for their leave. But it is equally likely that they are becoming a liability to your business.
Discuss the issue with your staff
If there is a widespread problem, then address the issue in a staff meeting. There might be a common factor that you haven’t considered. Start to get some feedback from your staff about why this is happening and remember to not be harsh. You want your employees to be open and honest with you.
If it is just one employee that is the issue, then privately and discreetly take them aside to talk. The last thing you want to do is potentially embarrass them in front of the other team members. Although your heart may want to tell them in no uncertain terms the harm they’re doing to the business with their absences, your head will know that a public dressing down will demoralise the rest of your workforce, making them less productive.
Create a flexible working environment
One of the contributing factors of absenteeism is that your staff might feel that they are overworked. By allowing them a degree of flexibility in their work, they will be less inclined to take time off. Implementing things like the ability to work from home, part time contracts, and a time off in lieu program can all help reduce stress-related absences.
This will put additional strain on your management team because they’ll have to devise rotas so we understand that it is not always possible.
Outline a clear absence policy
Every business that employs staff should have an absence policy. This should outline how many days an employee is allowed to be off in a given period of time and the consequences of going over that limit.
Stick to this policy to provide consistency throughout your workplace. Your staff shouldn’t be under the impression that their own circumstances make them exempt from the rules. This can lead to your employees thinking that favouritism is taking place.
Don’t be afraid to put your foot down
If an employee is constantly taking days off, even after they have been verbally warned, then they should be punished. This is especially true if they haven’t given you a good reason for their absence. If you allow their absences to go unnoticed, the rest of your staff will begin to think that it is acceptable.
As hard as it might be to discipline an employee, it is still easier than dealing with the loss of productivity that multiple employee absences could bring further down the line.
We can help
If you would like advice on the financial impact on absenteeism, get in touch with our team. Call us today on 01235 768 561 or drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’ll be back in touch with you shortly.