Absenteeism or unscheduled employee absence is a pervasive phenomenon impacting workplaces around the world.
According to research, employee absenteeism costs employers between $2,600 and $3,600 per employee each year. In 2020, absenteeism cost the U.S. economy between $427.5 billion and $578.5 billion.
Employee absence can be costly for businesses in terms of both replacement costs and lost productivity, which hampers long-term business success. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as employees began requesting extra time off for personal health, absenteeism has become a growing concern for employers.
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Tips to Boost Employee Attendance
Keeping the importance of employee motivation in mind, there is a need to introduce different incentives to the workplace in order to boost attendance. Depending on the nature of the business, here are some incentives that may work for your organization:
Create a Leave and Attendance Policy
Every organization has a leave policy, whether paid or unpaid, and employees are expected to follow protocol in order to request that time off. Make sure your employees are aware of this process and the consequences of not following standard practice.
Ideally, this information should be outlined in an employee handbook and shared with each employee during the onboarding process. It’s equally important to ensure that all employees are treated equally in being held accountable for their attendance.
Additionally, it’s imperative to examine and adjust the absence policy regularly in order to reflect necessary changes. Likewise, these should be communicated to your team as a whole.
Set Up an Attendance Incentive Program
An unexpected absence of two or more people from the same department might result in an immediate impact on the output of that department. This might be remedied by partnering with a staffing agency in Pittsburgh for arranging hiring temps or paying overtime to your current employees to handle the resulting workload.
In such a situation, even a modest investment in attendance incentives can boost productivity and reduce the time and effort managers have to spend juggling schedules to ensure the service level agreements and KPIs are met.
A reward in the form of a gift card or a gas card for consistent attendance can make a huge difference. However, an attendance incentive program like this will only work if it matches employee needs. To develop a successful program, it’s always critical to gather employee feedback and offer customized incentives, if possible.
Soliciting feedback also helps in refreshing the incentive program to ensure it stays relevant to the changing needs of your unique workforce.
Offer Attendance Bonus
Employees that have exemplary attendance over a certain length of time can be rewarded with an attendance bonus at work to encourage others. This incentive is often established separately by each company and is typically added to the employees’ wages.
For instance, employees who use no sick days might receive a bonus at the end of each quarter; or they might receive an additional week’s pay at the end of each year. Those with fewer absences per month might receive an additional sum at the end of each month.
As employers work to eliminate a toxic work environment, they must also not forget that employees demand flexibility more than ever. Although adopting flexibility in work hours may not be possible for all businesses, any type of benefit can significantly increase employee engagement as well as attendance.
For instance, parents with kids can benefit from having a flexible start time policy. This can minimize call-offs resulting from unexpected personal issues. However, flexible schedules should be adequately documented and approved by the management so they can be tracked and monitored.
Talk to Your Employees
Take the opportunity to have a friendly conversation with the employee when you notice a pattern of absenteeism.
This meeting should be discreet and informal so that the resource feels comfortable enough to open up. It shouldn’t appear like a meeting for discipline.
The purpose of this conversation is to bring up the concern and understand the cause behind it as the employer could be struggling with something serious. Once the cause of absenteeism is revealed, suitable action can be taken accordingly.
Take Disciplinary Action Only If It’s Necessary
Disciplinary actions don’t always solve a problem. This is why it’s important to gather information first, through a casual conversation rather than an overly aggressive approach. If not, you will lose employee trust and it could hurt the employee’s morale as well.
If the absenteeism issue stems from a laid-back attitude or other behavioral issues, this might require disciplinary action. However, make sure you have spoken to the employee before any response is initiated.
The end goal is to find the root cause, offer reasonable accommodation and help them become regular. If this matter is not addressed professionally and a reasonable explanation is not received, this could mean losing a good resource, and hence your HR department might have to rethink its talent acquisition strategies to find, source, and retain top talent.