7 Ways to Combat Workplace Absenteeism

Posted on

June 17th, 2015


Chronic absenteeism can be very destructive to a work team. We all know that some absenteeism is inevitable, but habitual, persistent absenteeism can wreak havoc in the workplace and seriously undermine employee morale.
Here are 7 strategies that may help supervisors and managers address the problem of overly-frequent absences.
1.    Conduct “back-to-work” interviews
Set up an interview with the returning employee to ascertain the reason behind the absence and determine whether they are being genuine. This strategy also helps the company stay engaged with the employee. When strong policies and procedures are adhered to, it can help reduce absence and tardiness.
2.    Flexible scheduling
Flexible scheduling can reduce absenteeism if handled correctly. Sometimes employees are in situations that force them to be absent even if they want to be at work. Allow employees to have a say in custom-designed schedules that work better for them as long as the work is covered adequately.
3.    Document, document, document
Good documentation is essential for tracking absenteeism patterns. Make sure rules are applied to all employees equally.
4.    Tie incentive programs to attendance
Reward employees with good attendance with recognition and meaningful incentives. Make sure employees know that those conscientious enough to arrive at work on time and help their team will be rewarded.
5.    Allow for shift swaps
Things come up. Allowing staff to trade or swap shifts gives some the flexibility they need to be successful with their attendance goals.
6.    Train line managers
If line managers are knowledgeable about absenteeism causes and remedies, they are more likely to be understanding when there is a genuine need for a staff member to be absent from work, but will be able to identify serious problems as well as help facilitate a more successful attendance record among their staff.
7.    Help employees balance their work / life responsibilities
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and other workplace programs can go a long way toward preventing and solving the work/life issues of the worker. Recognize that different employees have different needs; often a certain degree of flexibility can help them make it through extenuating circumstances.
Paying attention to absenteeism patterns, extending flexible work solutions and helping employees manage their work/life responsibilities can go a long way toward addressing chronic absenteeism. Reward and incentive programs have also been shown to be effective.