Employee absenteeism is a challenge for many companies. Not only does it lead to lost revenue and damaged productivity, but it can also lead to high turnover rates.
With the rise in absenteeism and employee turnover, it is crucial to do everything in your power to retain your employees. You can do this by implementing a few simple changes within your work environment that increase morale and improve employee satisfaction.
Keep reading to learn how you can keep your employees motivated, happy, and eager to stay on with your company.
Create an Environment That Fosters Creativity, Innovation, and Teamwork
If you want to reduce employee absenteeism, you first need to create a work environment that will allow your employees to be the best they can be. An environment that does not encourage individuality and creativity will likely lead to low morale, resulting in higher rates of absenteeism.
You should aim to create an atmosphere where creativity and innovation are welcome and encouraged, and one in which teamwork between coworkers is valued above individual success. People who feel supported by their team will be less inclined to want to leave, as they’ll have the backing of those around them in everything they do.
This type of positive culture is not easy to achieve, but you can give yourself a head start by hiring employees who fit in with your company’s vision and values.
Be Flexible With Work Hours
Many workplaces see an increase in absenteeism because bosses neglect to give their employees the flexibility they need. If employees feel trapped into working specific hours, work will be a restrictive experience that takes away some of their agency.
Giving flexible hours to your employees can help them balance their personal life with their professional life. In turn, they will be less preoccupied with worry over their personal issues and therefore more productive at work.
If employees do not have the option of work flexibility, they will likely spend days absent to sort out their personal issues. If hours are flexible, however, your employees can take care of personal issues around their work commitments and save their sick days for illness or emergencies.
Try to give your employees the option of coming in early or staying late when necessary. That way, they can make time for both their work commitments and their personal lives rather than cutting corners on one or the other.
Give Employees a Voice
Employees who feel like they are not heard, supported, or appreciated at work are more likely to take time off. It’s both frustrating and dehumanizing to be ignored, so it’s no wonder that unappreciated staff will often take days off or leave their job.
For this reason, employee engagement is key to reducing employee turnover and absenteeism. Always make an effort to listen to your employees’ concerns regarding their jobs and the company as a whole.
But don’t just be a listening ear–make an effort to create opportunities for them to have a voice, whether through an anonymous survey or a company meeting. Your employees won’t always feel confident speaking up, so it’s important to set the stage for feedback and suggestions rather than expecting others to come forward.
By giving employees a voice in the workplace, you can help them feel valued and show that their opinions are being heard. Knowing that their opinions are valued, employees will then feel that their best option is to share their concerns with you rather than taking days off or leaving their job altogether.
Offer Incentives and Competitive Benefits Packages
No one wants to work in a company where they aren’t appreciated or rewarded for their efforts. If they do, it’s out of necessity, and they are unlikely to give you their full enthusiasm or presence at work. Offering incentives and benefits is one way to show your employees that their efforts are appreciated and their attendance is valued.
Rewards such as bonuses and extra vacation time are enticing incentives to encourage good attendance. You can also offer competitive benefits packages that include health insurance, retirement programs, paid sick leave, and childcare assistance programs.
Offering these types of benefits will encourage employees to stay home when they feel unwell or need to tend to personal matters, resulting in lower absenteeism rates. It will also show your employees that you care for their welfare.
Implement an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Employees who do not feel comfortable coming to you with issues that are bothering them, such as financial troubles or stress from personal matters outside of work, will be more tempted to take time off instead.
To combat this issue, you should provide your employees with the resources needed so that they know where to get help when necessary without having to worry about repercussions from their company.
An excellent resource to implement in your company is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This is a program that specifically helps employees with personal issues, such as mental health, financial struggles, and family-related problems.
By having a designated structure in place for such things, employees won’t feel so uncomfortable sharing their struggles and asking for help. It’s a lot easier to find assistance when there is a clear system put in place–your employees won’t see their request as encroaching on your time or threatening their position within the company.
Making resources available to your employees also shows them that you care about their well-being. If they know you support their mental health and wellness, they will be less likely to feel guilty for taking a mental health day or leaving if they need it.
Set Clear Expectations and Consequences Around Absenteeism
In order to reduce absenteeism, you first need to clearly define what constitutes absenteeism, and set consequences to be put in motion if an employee is absent.
For example, you should let employees know how many days they can be out from work before it counts as a full day of absence. If there are exceptions to this rule, such as if employees need to take time off due to personal matters or are out on a scheduled vacation, make those exceptions clear.
Setting expectations can help reduce absenteeism rates because it means that there won’t be any surprises or confusion if they take time off from work. Your employees will clearly understand that taking X amount of days off will lead to a certain outcome or consequence, and therefore, they will avoid consequences by having good attendance.
Having clear expectations outlined in an employee handbook can set the tone for your company’s values and what you consider to be unacceptable behavior. This will also help punctual employees who make minor mistakes feel that their jobs are secure, whereas a poorly defined attendance policy may have the opposite effect.
Re-Evaluate Your Employees’ Workloads Individually and Adjust Them Accordingly
You should assess your employees’ workloads to see if there is anything you can do to help reduce their stress levels and encourage them to take time off work. For example, you could decrease their workloads when they are going through a tough time, or if you notice that their stress levels have increased.
If there is no way for you to decrease the workload, then at least letting employees know about upcoming projects and tasks can reduce absenteeism rates. It will give them enough time to prepare themselves mentally before taking on additional responsibilities.
If you have an employee who works remotely, you should consider giving them a longer leash when it comes to deadlines that come up during hectic times. Allow them to work from home as needed.
Adjust the workload of each individual according to what they can handle, and you will be amazed at the impact it has on absenteeism rates.
Give Employees the Opportunity to Grow in Their Position
When employees feel as though they can’t grow or progress within their position, their low motivation can translate into taking days off, as they won’t feel fulfilled or adequately challenged by their work.
To fix this issue, you should focus on different avenues for career development and opportunities within your company. You could offer an additional full-time position if there is enough work, or you could encourage employees to go through training programs to help them learn new skills and increase their chances for promotion.
You can also introduce rotational programs where new or current team members take a step back and learn something new or different within the company. This will help them feel more fulfilled at work and reduce their stress levels.
Another option is to offer mentoring programs wherein an experienced team member coaches a newer one in their specific role. The aim of such programs is that eventually, and with proper training, the new employee will be able to handle additional tasks independently down the line.
If your employees are given opportunities to grow in their positions within the company, they will be more likely to feel fulfilled at what they do. And, with supportive company culture, this fulfillment will hopefully lead to fewer absent days and more successful outcomes.
Keep Track of Employee Absences
Monitoring absenteeism more closely will allow you to get a better idea of what the problems and contributing factors might be.
You can do this by keeping track of how many days each employee has taken off per year and comparing that data with anyone else at their level within your company. You can also talk to employees about their reasons for being absent to better understand the causes.
By monitoring absences, you can then take that data and work on coming up with solutions to decrease the number of absent days and increase employee satisfaction.
The Bottom Line
Employee absenteeism is a significant problem that plagues employers across the world, but remember that employees are humans, too–they have lives outside of work, and personal issues can prevent them from working to their usual standard.
By following these tips on reducing employee absenteeism rates, as well as approaching your employees with empathy and care, you will be able to create happier and healthier teams that enjoy showing up to their jobs.