4 Tips for Managing Employee Absenteeism

Employee Absenteeism

Employee absenteeism creates significant issues for any business. Here are four employee engagement strategies that can help fix the problem.

While you probably know that employee absenteeism is an expensive problem to have, you may not realize just how much it could be costing you. According to All One Health, each year unscheduled employee absenteeism costs $3,600 for an hourly worker and $2,650 for an employee on salary. To help mitigate this risk and manage absenteeism in the workplace, consider turning to employee engagement strategies.

According to the ADP Research Institute® report, Fixing the Talent Management Disconnect, over 70 percent of midsized business owners feel employee engagement is important to their organization's success. At the same time, a Gallup poll revealed that 50.8 percent of employees in U.S. businesses are "not engaged" at work, while another 17.2 percent are "actively disengaged." Just as low employee engagement can lead to turnover, it can lead first to absenteeism.

Here are four employee engagement strategies that can help you combat employee absenteeism in the short term and drive retention over time.

Recognize Your Employees

No-shows at work can stem from employees' perception that their performance accomplishments are going unnoticed. Implement proper employee recognition tactics for a job well done can motivate employees not only to show up but to do their best. It also doesn't hurt to give shoutouts for personal milestones like birthdays or work anniversaries to reiterate your appreciation.

Be Transparent

Address workplace issues by being as open and honest with your employees as possible. Frequent communication and regular feedback- preferably face to face- are good ways to foster the trust needed to improve employee-manager relationships and company culture, ultimately making the workplace a place where employees want to be. Consistent transparent communication will also improve your ability to spot employee issues that may lead to absenteeism, such as job dissatisfaction or internal and external stressors.

Increase Workplace Morale

Low morale in the workplace can result in lost productivity, and part of this comes from absenteeism. And it's an unfortunate cycle, as increased absenteeism can further diminish morale. Talk to employees to understand your best options for boosting morale — whether that means setting up positive events like volunteer days, improving employee recognition or investing in training and development opportunities.

Offer Flexible Work Schedules

Because so many employees value flexibility in their schedules, initiatives like work-from-home options and flextime benefits can help employees show up when they're supposed to. Flexible work schedules can be beneficial to employees who struggle to arrive to work on time due to child or elder care constraints, for example. By allowing your employees to adjust their work hours, or where they do their work, rates of unexpected interruptions and absences should go down. Your employees will also feel more satisfied with you as an employer.

With these four tips, your company can get a better handle on employee absenteeism and reduce the costs associated with missed work, from finding replacement workers and suffering losses in productivity to the ordeal of HR intervention. Remember to start by giving your employees the benefit of the doubt, focusing less on punishments and ultimatums and more on what you can do to make your workplace a welcome destination for your employees.