Reducing Employee Absenteeism - Definition, Strategies & Best Practices

Reducing Employee Absenteeism – Strategies & Best Practices

What is employee absenteeism? According to the Indian Factories Act of 1948, “Absence is the failure of an employee to report for duty at the appointed time.” When an employer has work available for an employee and the employee is aware of it, the employee is to be regarded as scheduled to work.

In some industries, operational-level absenteeism is a serious issue. Unauthorized absence or leave from work is known as absenteeism. Absenteeism is defined as “the practice or habit of being an absentee, and an absentee is one who habitually stays away” by Webster’s Dictionary.

Employee absenteeism is the term used to describe an employee’s unauthorized absence from work. In India, absenteeism is a more significant issue than in other countries. An authorized absence occurs when an employee leaves on a planned workday with approval. It is an intentional absence without leave when he skips work without authorization or notification.

Now, when the nation’s requirements demand a greater focus on productivity growth and the economic and thoughtful use of the resources at our disposal, it is essential to reduce absenteeism to the greatest extent possible.

Causes of Employee Absenteeism: The Three Major Factors:

I. Organizational Factors:

  • 1. Boring, repetitive, and boring tasks make employees disinterested in their jobs. He becomes mentally and physically exhausted.
  • 2. A high absenteeism rate is a result of leniency towards absences.
  • 3. Hiring casual or temporary employees results in significant absenteeism.
  • 4. Trade union militant views can contribute to increased absenteeism since they annoy workers.
  • 5. Selection and placement practices that are flawed and ineffective encourage absenteeism.
  • 6. Industrial accidents and undue weariness are caused by heavy workloads.
  • 7. Environmental problems and a lack of essential facilities
  • 8. Bossy and subpar bosses foster dissatisfaction, disagreement, and tension, which increases absenteeism.
  • 9. Excessive staffing, erratic production flow, improper skill application, poor training, a deficient incentive structure, a deficient grievance mechanism, low morale, and a lack of job satisfaction all contribute to absenteeism.
  • 10. Reduced compensation is one of the causes of absenteeism since employees take time off to work additional jobs to supplement their income.

II. Social Factors:

  • 1. The migratory structure of the Indian labor force does not foster a sense of community at work. As a result, absenteeism occurs frequently.
  • 2. Insufficient housing and transportation options prevent employees from going to work.
  • 3. Absenteeism is also caused by a lack of hospital resources for treatment.
  • 4. Seasonal factors like the growing season, the wedding season, leisure activities, and religious holidays contribute to absence.

III. Personal Factors:

  • 1. The rate of absence is high in the case of unskilled and young workers because of their personal problems.
  • 2. Women workers are more prone to absenteeism because of their personal and family problems.
  • 3. Alcoholics and drug addicts show a higher tendency to absenteeism.
  • 4. Indebtedness of workers causes absenteeism.
  • 5. Inferiority complex, maladjustment, job dissatisfaction, neglect by family members, no clear goal about why you are hired for this role etc., cause workers to lose interest in the job. This triggers absenteeism.

How to handle employee absenteeism?

Once it has developed into a routine or behavior that is tolerated by your organization culture, employee absenteeism can be challenging to address. After all, it is impossible to make people arrive at work on time. So if you want to go deep into the strategies to reduce employee absenteeism and enhance retention, use this six-step strategy to reduce absenteeism at work instead of seeing the costs of unplanned absences mount:

1. Create an employee attendance policy 

What should be done as a first step in handling employee absenteeism? Make an established attendance policy for employees. Attendance at work should be simple: arrive on time, as scheduled. Yet in practice, figuring out how to monitor, record, and address staff absenteeism can be challenging. What happens if an employee arrives 45 minutes late but yet works? What if they have an emergency, like a sick child? What if they completely fail to show up for work? Next, what?

No matter how many employees you have or whether your company has a formal HR department, it doesn’t matter. All team members are made aware of expected work behavior and disciplinary measures by an official attendance policy. Thus, take some time right away to draught a policy that is just for you and your employees.

Take into account various attendance difficulties, such as tardiness, unscheduled absences, and scheduled absences, before deciding on any appropriate disciplinary measures and the next steps for each. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Instead, concentrate on developing a strategy that eliminates subjectivity and spells out in simple terms what each form of absence entails.

Don’t just file your brand-new attendance policy in a binder on the shelf or bury it in the small print of an employee handbook once you’re done. Make sure all staff members, including new recruits, have the opportunity to view it and are informed of the modifications. Stress the value of attendance as a shared obligation and that everyone is expected to fulfill their obligation.

Have your staff members sign a waiver stating that they have read the policy and agree to the new attendance standards. If you want to affirm it in writing for your records in case there are any further disciplinary difficulties, do so. And now with matters of discipline.

 2. Enforce your attendance policy consistently

You must regularly enforce your attendance policy if you want to discover how to deal with employee absenteeism in the workplace. If an employee texts you to say they’ll be late, switches shifts with a coworker, or calls in sick, you’ll at least know they won’t be there on time and you’ll have time to locate a substitute or be ready for a shift with fewer people than usual. Apply a distinct course of action for each of the two attendance scenarios to all staff members, including managers and supervisors.

3. Keep track of employee absences  

Without a plan in place for recording employee absences from work, it may be challenging to monitor employee attendance and recognize when isolated unscheduled absences begin to take on a pattern. Even if it’s only a separate column or a remark on that week’s shift plan, make sure other supervisors have a mechanism to record absences and late arrivals if you can’t be everywhere at once. Also, you will have a record to back up your judgments if you do have to fire an employee over absence-related issues.

4. Address unscheduled absences and no-shows immediately

Absences do occur. But, if an employee misses a shift or calls in ill, handle the issue in a frank manner. Don’t let too much time pass between appointments (or even another absence). Discuss what occurred, why it occurred, and what is expected of them going forward once they have returned to work. Make sure they are aware of any disciplinary actions or performance plans that may have been triggered by their absence.

You might even wish to conduct a formal return-to-work interview, depending on how lengthy the absence has been. Return-to-work interviews have a good influence on absence rates, according to prior studies, and they might even be more effective for small companies. When they return, employees will understand that they can handle absences right away by doing so.

5. Don’t just treat the symptoms, discover the cause

You may find out there are other things outside of work impacting your employee’s attendance and leading to excessive absences. They may have started night classes and been struggling to make it in on time in the mornings. If your employees have valid reasoning for excessive absences and their performance is strong otherwise, find a way to correct things together.

Update staff availability forms, develop a performance improvement plan, and when possible, make necessary scheduling adjustments. Set goals for them for the upcoming 30 days, such as refraining from missing or being late. But if all they’re doing is skipping work to start their weekend early, it’s time to make some tough decisions like a good leader would do!

Avoid letting things get out of hand in this situation. Maintaining open lines of communication with your staff members can also make them feel more comfortable discussing any scheduling problems that can result in absences.

6. Don’t forget to reward good behavior  

Consider the last month and which of your employees missed work, arrived late, or filed a sick leave request. Now consider those who didn’t. A harder task? Easier? Who was more notable?

It stands to reason that in the workplace, absence is frequently felt more keenly than presence. The entire team is impacted if someone fails to show up to work on their assignment. But what about the workers that do arrive on time each day and quietly maintain the seamless operation of your company?

Let’s take a look at the statistics:

  • Workers who feel appreciated at work are more devoted and engaged, whereas those who don’t are twice as likely to indicate they want to leave within the following year.
  • Up to 76% of today’s expanding millennial workforce said they would quit their jobs if they didn’t feel valued.
  • Just one in three American workers “strongly agree” that they were commended or recognized for their hard work within the previous week.

One of the most effective yet least expensive business methods is rewarding employees for performances factor & good attendance. While you might want to concentrate on getting rid of the underperforming employees, you don’t want to lose the wonderful staff you already have in the process. Create a mechanism to regularly recognize and reward good attendance.

Provide incentives that workers won’t want to pass up, such as an extra day off or the opportunity to set their own schedule for a week, to encourage them to make the list the following month. When it comes to eliminating employee absenteeism, there is no quick remedy. You’ll probably still receive calls from those who have unexpected “food poisoning” or the opportune Friday flu.

Unscheduled absences can be reduced to the exception rather than the rule by implementing a fair employee attendance policy, documenting and tracking attendance patterns, addressing absences when they happen, having an action plan for excessive absenteeism, and remembering to recognize good attendance as frequently as poor.

Even though you won’t be able to resolve every attendance issue, you’ll be able to update your team’s standards and put a plan in place to deal with employee absence going ahead.

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