Throughout a working day, various dilemmas could arise and contribute to inefficiencies or hindrances in the workplace. One such dilemma is employee absenteeism, which might be considered unjust to label as one of the leading causes of inefficiencies in the workplace since people fall victim to sickness or unexpected events every day.
However, research has discovered that the benchmark for employee absenteeism in the UK is around 4.7% and can become habitual behaviour if not addressed as soon as possible by management or human resources. Although employees may have very good reasons for their absenteeism, other causes for truancy can include but are not limited to bullying or harassment, mental health issues, illness or injuries, burnout, stress, low morale and many more.
Suppose absenteeism is allowed to become a pattern behaviour in employees over time. In that case, it can not only disrupt the day-to-day running of the business but cause significant monetary loss. Therefore, HR professionals need to implement preventative measures to manage employee absenteeism effectively and minimise the risks associated. This article outlines several suggestions to help HR professionals manage employee absenteeism to make the situation better before it worsens.
Create Or Revise Your Attendance Policy
The first step HR professionals should take to manage employee absenteeism is creating a new or revising your current attendance policy. Let’s face it, in a perfect business world; employee attendance would be straightforward; however, this is not always the case, and it can become increasingly difficult to document, track, and fix attendance issues.
Whether your workplace has fifty or five hundred employees, creating or amending your attendance policy is the only way HR professionals can realistically track, document and fix issues with employee absences, either scheduled or not. Creating a new or revising your old attendance policy actively shows employees that management is taking absenteeism seriously and that any staff that disobey these rules will be disciplined accordingly.
In the policy, HR professionals should outline the business’s expectations regarding attendance in a manner that is both fair and ethical. Disciplinary actions should also be included if staff fail to adhere to the policy terms and regulations. HR professionals may also want to consider mitigating circumstances and how they would affect the attendance policy. Like if an employee runs half an hour late for work but still turns up? What if they must take their children to school before coming to work?
Ensure to outline what the business defines as a scheduled absence, unscheduled absence, or tardiness so that the affected employee knows how their attendance will be affected and how they can account for any missed time. Once the revised or new attendance policy is ready, ensure that all employees are made aware and enforce its reading so that staff know the distinction between each type of absence and any miscommunication is minimised.
Execute The Policy And Record Any Policy-Breakers
The following step HR professionals should take towards being more mindful of employee absenteeism is executing the new or revised attendance policy and recording any policy-breakers. Each time a situation arises, you must refer to the attendance policy and ensure that the rules are followed despite who the offender is and the circumstances surrounding the absence.
However, just because HR professionals are trying to enforce the policy to the best of their abilities doesn’t mean that they can’t allow leverage for emergencies or show empathy for their co-workers or have a plan in case these absences strike. For example, your policy could outline that one or two unscheduled absences or tardiness are acceptable. Any further offences will trigger disciplinary measures such as a formal warning or a meeting.
To further improve the management of employee absenteeism, HR professionals should implement systems or tools to monitor moments of absenteeism so that correlations and repeat policy-breakers can easily be spotted. HR professionals could use any system or device that they’d like to make identifying absence issues easier for management by using timecards, a time clock application, or staff absence management software.
If your business is looking for a way to monitor and record staff absenteeism, consider looking at the absence management software from Factorial HR. As well as helping HR professionals keep track of employees’ absenteeism, their software can also help with other elements of human resources, such as tracking employees’ working hours and increasing productivity. Browse their website or follow their blog for more information and HR-related news. Alternatively, contact a team member directly to see how their software could help your HR department with absence management.
Deal With Any Absences Immediately
It’s inevitable that absences will happen, whether scheduled or unscheduled. Therefore, HR professionals must address absences when they do happen as quickly as possible to manage employee absenteeism successfully. It’s vital to deal with unscheduled absences or no-shows when the offending employee is back at work and not allow any time to pass in-between.
Failure to do so will make the absentee feel they’ve gotten away with the unplanned absence and may encourage them to offend again, leading to routine behaviour. Ensure that management sits down with the employee as soon as they return to work and that the company attendance policy is referred to throughout.
Address why the incident has happened, what is expected of the employee after the meeting has concluded and make them aware of any disciplinary actions triggered by their absence if necessary. Providing that you want paper-based evidence if the incident reoccurs, you could enforce that employees must fill out a return-to-work form containing all details of their absence from the date to why the absence occurred.
HR professionals can then refer to this should the employee in question have any more unscheduled absences. It will also remind the staff body that absenteeism is being taken seriously. Any offenders will be disciplined accordingly, deter future absentees, and help HR professionals with absence management.
Remember To Reward Good Behaviour
It can be challenging for HR professionals and management to notice good behaviour while dealing with negative behaviour. Since the absence of employees is always felt more strongly than those present due to the additional strain it puts on the entire team. So, the missing cogs are always more noticeable than those that continuously show up to work day in day out.
However, having a good employee appraisal programme in place is vital for teaching staff members positive behaviour. Supposing that your employee appraisal programme is successful, it should reward staff members for good attendance and for achieving any goals outlined in performance reviews and reward hard work.
Having a rewards programme like this in place will not only motivate employees to come to work each day but inspire other employees to work harder to achieve the rewards outlined by your programme. Rewarding and recognising employees’ hard work can be one of the most low-cost yet effective strategies for your business.
Continuing to recognise employees’ achievements and reward their hard work can also reap benefits for the company from increased loyalty, optimised productivity and many more benefits. HR professionals can use this rewards system to see which employees are being rewarded the most and effectively weed out the employees who aren’t performing as well so your business retains its good employees.