8 Tips on How to Handle Employee Absenteeism
Posted on December 7, 2018 by Danny Leffel
Employee absenteeism is a common occurrence for many businesses, but it doesn’t have to be. Since employees interact with customers on a daily basis, they’re essentially the face of the company. If too many absences begin to affect customers’ satisfaction, you’ve got a problem. However, with a few management tweaks, you can stop the issue before it becomes a threat to your bottom line. Check out the below tips for curbing excessive employee absenteeism.
1. Create an Attendance Policy
Even if your company doesn’t have a human resources department, you should have a clearly defined attendance policy. Makes sure that copies are distributed to your team or are posted in an accessible area. With the rules outlined, everyone will be on the same page about the company’s expectations for attendance, and you’ll be able to use it as a guide if anyone violates the policy.
2. Enforce the Attendance Policy
Make sure that you treat every employee equally under the policy. There will sometimes be instances where using it won’t be appropriate, but try to enforce it as much as possible. If employees see someone else violating the policy without consequences, they’ll be less likely to follow the rules in the future.
3. Be Flexible
Even if you have an attendance policy, emergencies like sick children or unexpected car trouble are impossible to plan for. It’s important for supervisors to be flexible when employees need to take unscheduled time, as long as their requests are within reason. To help manage and reduce absenteeism,try using an online app like Crew. The Crew app makes it easy to schedule shifts and fosters team communication. Employees can text their bosses from their smartphones, so giving them the freedom to help manage their own work schedules through an app will be more efficient for everyone involved.
4. Reward Good Behavior
An absent employee catches a supervisor’s attention more than an attending one because the void left by the absence needs to be filled. Unfortunately, that burden of covering for an absent co-worker often falls to the employees who showed up for work. If they have to consistently fill in for someone, they’ll start to feel resentful. To combat those feelings, recognize employees who come to work on time and reward them for doing so. This may also incentivize your absentee employees to begin coming in. Recognition and rewards lead to lower turnover rates, a higher team morale, and happier customers.
5. Find Out Why Employees Are Absent
It can be difficult to go to your boss with a personal issue that is affecting your work, so keep an open line of communication between you and your employees. Some companies schedule quick return-to-work meetings with employees who have had several unplanned absences to see how they are doing. These meetings allow the employees to bring up any issues — be it an illness or child care problems — that may be causing them to miss work. Isolating the causes of absences is a crucial step toward finding a way to reduce them.
6. Offer a Specific Number of Sick Days
If a company does not offer sick days, an employee may feel pressured to come to work when they have a contagious disease and infect their team, dooming everyone to repeat the cycle when other employees become ill. Food-handling industries may benefit the most from offering sick days to employees, since they can spread germs to a large number of people in a very short amount of time.
Allowing employees designated sick time — and not punishing them for taking it — will improve their productivity and morale because, under this policy, they won’t be too sick to work or concerned about catching a disease.
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7. Treat Employees With Respect
Although trying to find someone to cover a shift can be frustrating, remember that your employees are people too, and they have lives outside of work. Give them the benefit of the doubt if they ask to take time, and allow them the opportunity to explain their absences. Employees who feel disrespected are more likely to quit, so make sure that you’re treating them well.
8. Record Employee Absences
Keep complete and accurate records of the absences. Despite most employees signing at-will employment contracts, a company can still get into legal trouble if someone files a wrongful termination suit. Good record-keeping is a necessity in those cases.
Since unscheduled absences are one of the leading causes of lost productivity, it is imperative that you find ways to minimize your losses. By implementing the above ideas, you’ll be giving your company a better chance to decrease absences and satisfy customers.