Strategies for Dealing with Chronic Absenteeism in the Workplace

Dealing with Chronic Absenteeism in the Workplace

Strategies for Dealing with Chronic Absenteeism in the Workplace

In nearly every organization, a scenario plays out that drives most human resource managers close to insanity, and it revolves around chronic absenteeism in the workplace. The messages start around 8am, as employees begin their weekly call-of-shame to notify managers that they won’t be in to work again. The reasons are many, from car breakdowns to lack of childcare, but the results are still the same — less than enough workers to get things done. It seems like these are the same culprits that brag about the party they went to last weekend, which only makes them look guiltier. Over time, these are the employees who do damage to their teams made up of hard working people left behind to pick up their slack.

What can managers do to stop cases of chronic absenteeism in the workplace? There are some methods that can influence employees to make better priorities and effectively eliminate employees who habitually abuse the system.

Encourage employees to schedule time off

This may seem to be the most obvious ways to curtail employee absences, but it’s also the most overlooked method that management uses. Employees will often wait until something becomes an emergency before taking care of things, because they don’t feel comfortable asking for time off. Of course, this is counterproductive when they fail to come in as planned. Management can encourage employees to communicate regularly when they may need to take a few hours off instead of missing an entire day, and use the central scheduling platform for booking time off.

Have a formal policy concerning chronic absenteeism in the workplace

If there are no consequences for calling out of work all the time, then there can be no opportunity to help employees better handle their own performance at work. Make sure your employee manual and time scheduling system has content that specifically outlines the allowable paid and unpaid time off policy. This should include warnings if the employee is using too much unscheduled time. Clear disciplinary action needs to be written out so that employees understand what can happen if they abuse this privilege.

Uncover the underlying causes of chronic absence

While it may be a difficult conversation to have with an employee, getting to the root issue behind frequent absenteeism can be the best approach. Simply adjusting an employee’s schedule can alleviate some challenges. Allowing the employee to work from home a day each week may be an option to help with more work life balance. Chronic health issues can be addressed with the employee to see if he or she qualifies for a medical accommodation that will make them more productive.

Motivate and engage employees to encourage attendance

All managers should meet with employees on a regular basis to talk about their goals, workloads, and career aspirations. Absenteeism can stem from boredom or lack of challenge at work. The employee may find it easier to miss time to pursue other passions. Find out what will motivate each employee and work this into career plans. Employees may benefit from some additional training, working on a new project, or participating in an industry conference off-site.

Commit to employee success

Ask employees to commit to their own success by first committing to them. Let employees know how valued they are to the organization and the positive impact they have on the rest of the team. Emphasize the opportunities they have to excel at work if they commit to at least a 90 day period of good attendance and hard work. Provide resources employees need and use incentives to help them meet their goals of better attendance. Recognize the achievements of employees who make the effort to improve. Let employees go if they refuse to comply with this fresh start by the end of this time frame.

By taking the above steps, and setting an example of what’s expected, Mondays should become less problematic for your organization.

Through our Hosted Solutions, we can help you establish a protocol that will not only help reduce your absenteeism and tardiness issues but also limit the time your management and human resources team spend managing absences. Your company will then have the flexibility to shift its focus on other core areas of your business.  If your company has specific business rules or technology limitations, we have implementation specialists on hand ready and willing to work with you to overcome those challenges in the best and most cost effective way possible. Let’s end chronic absenteeism in the workplace together.

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Comment (1)

  • Hank M.

    Great detail and nicely covered topic.

    November 11, 2017 at 7:54 pm

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