There’s no getting around the fact that employees are going to miss work once in a while. People get sick, they go on vacation, and at times they have to deal with more serious issues that arise unexpectedly. Luckily, proper workforce forecasting can help to account for such absences.
What can you do, though, when absences begin to exceed standard time-off thresholds? Most employers only allow for a set number of sick and vacation time annually, but what can you do when employees exceed this allowance and take unpaid leave?
Although you might not lose money on salary, your company will suffer from a loss of productivity that is likely to reduce profits. In other words, excessive employee absenteeism can prove detrimental to your bottom line. It can be managed, though. Here are a few tips to help you reduce chronic employee absenteeism.
Create Clear Policies and Enforce Them Consistently
If employees are unclear about expectations regarding work hours and time off, it’s only natural that they’ll push the envelope. In addition, a lack of consistency when it comes to enforcing rules can leave employees understandably confused about what they are allowed to do.
It is therefore crucial to create clear parameters for attendance through your policies. This could include creating manuals, instituting mandatory training, and using a biometric time and attendance system to accurately track attendance.
That said, you also need to enforce your attendance policy without fail. If the penalty for taking unpaid leave (apart from allowances required by law) is a warning, then a write-up, and then firing for subsequent offenses, you must follow through so that employees know you’re serious.
There are many reasons for employee absenteeism, such as health issues, family concerns, and low morale or burnout. Some of these you can control and some you cannot. If you feel that chronic absenteeism is related to the work environment, then you may want to institute a system of rewards to incentivize good attendance. You could also try improving the work environment to improve morale and employee engagement.
Flexible Scheduling Options
Some people have trouble waking up and getting to work early. Others can’t stay late because they have to pick up kids from school. One way to make sure employees are working a full shift is to offer flexible scheduling options that let some employees show up late while others leave early. This is a progressive workforce management model that has shown some success at reducing employee absenteeism.
Health and Wellness Benefits
In addition to providing health insurance options and meeting FLSA guidelines for employers, you might want to seek ways to improve employee health and wellness as a means of curbing absenteeism due to sickness, stress, and other factors. Consider adding employee assistance programs, counseling services, or other benefits to ensure employee health, wellness, and attendance.