Reduce workplace absenteeism: 6 Steps

Reduce workplace absenteeism: 6 Steps

Personal time off is essential, but what happens when it becomes a problem?

July 27, 2016

Not only does absenteeism affect your bottom line, it increases everyone’s workload leading to poor quality output and a sour atmosphere all round, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Absences occur for many reasons—burnout, stress, bullying, low morale, job hunting, etc. Whatever form absenteeism takes, it’s bad for business.

But are six ways to resolve persistent absenteeism from the SBA:

1. Identify the root cause

Your goal is to understand what’s happening and try to solve the issue.

For example, if stress is a factor you may need to discuss strategies that can help, such as shifting workloads, reducing responsibilities, etc.

2. Put a plan in place

If identifying the root cause doesn’t work, put a performance review plan in place that sets specific goals for improvement, addressing attendance specifically.

Put the plan in writing and clearly explain the time frame and the consequences of not fulfilling the requirements.

3. Develop a clear policy

Demonstrate to all employees that you don’t tolerate absenteeism. Clearly explain paid and unpaid leave policies and the consequences of unexcused absences.

If you have a company newsletter or intranet, use these to promote your policy.

4. Review your management style

It’s hard to acknowledge, but one of the more common reasons for employee dissatisfaction is management style.

Could your style be encouraging employees to harbor grudges or lose morale? Step back and assess what you can do differently.

5. Consider incentives

Flex-time, wellness programs, and project completion perks are proven to increase morale and productivity.

A survey by the business-to-business division of Staples finds these programs make employees feel valued, motivated, loyal, and productive.

6. Terminate repeat offenders

If you’ve exhausted all of these intervention measures and aren’t seeing improvement, then termination may be your only option.

Follow your human resource policy to the letter on this one and refer to the law as it pertains to terminating employees, final pay checks, and more.