Absenteeism is a problem that can sometimes slide under the radar, especially in larger organisations with hundreds or thousands of employees, and particularly when an effective time and attendance system is not in place.
The fact is that lost working hours can lead to significant financial loss and can seriously affect productivity and profitability.
Of course, many cases of sickness absence will be unavoidable and related to medical complaints. However, it’s worth considering other contributing factors that can be tackled by management, such as workplace bullying, issues related to childcare and general lack of motivation and job satisfaction. By implementing certain procedures and improving the workplace culture, employers can help to avoid unnecessary absence, increase productivity and save money.
Here are five ways to reduce levels of absenteeism.
1. Offer attendance incentives
Rewarding employees for 100% attendance in a year is tried and tested yet gentle method of motivating staff to clock in each day. It’s important, however, not to go the other way and berate or punish employees for absence. We’re increasingly finding that this is counterproductive – not only because it’s not encouraging, but also as it leads to fear of staying off while genuinely unwell, which in turn leads to the spread of illness throughout the company and further absence.
2. Implement effective HR software
Investment in comprehensive absence management software can enable businesses to accurately track levels of absence and identify trends easily so that, where possible, appropriate measures can be put in place. It also gives your employees responsibility for checking their leave allowance, recent clockings and flexitime entitlements. Such autonomy and control over their own leave is likely to inspire improved attendance levels, while freeing up HR departments to concentrate on the wider people strategy.
3. Support flexible working
Rigidity of working hours and on-site attendance can naturally lead to instances of absence. For the sort of jobs where this is possible, it may be worth offering more flexible hours or opportunities to work from home. Those who have children to take to and from school, or have other family care commitments, for example, could benefit greatly from a change in scheduled work hours and actually have more time and energy to focus on their role while working an alternative shift.
4. Improve the working environment
It’ll come as no surprise that an engaged workforce who feel valued are more likely to be motivated to come into work each day and contribute to the organisation. You can find out more about this on our blog on the importance of strong people management.
5. Ensure you have full visibility of all employee data
Poor visibility of employee data can cause significant problems, and the root causes are poor systems and processes.
Have you ever had a pay query that meant you had to dig back through electronic or paper files, or query a manual part of the data flow process? If HR and payroll teams don’t know with complete accuracy how many hours an employee has worked, pay queries and inaccuracies are inevitable.
Have you ever dealt with time theft challenges? Time theft is an issue for many businesses, and it’s reported that 43% of employees commit it. But it’s difficult to spot without employee time and attendance data.
Or struggled to access to actionable absence trends? 30.7 million working days were lost in 2017/18 to work-related illnesses and non-fatal injuries. Without the ability to spot trends in reliable data, it’s difficult to worrying absence trends.
HR and business leaders in most organisations have dealt with these challenges at one time or another.
Fundamentally, how can you trust that people are attending for the hours they say they are, being paid the right amount, that you’ll have reliable people data where you need it, when you need it? And how much time is spent protecting people and the business through manual processes, systems and data flow? How much does that time cost?
Integrating all of your employee data systems and the data held within them gives you the ultimate single view of each and every one of your employees, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, all achieved through effortlessly simple software that delivers the powerful reporting information you need, when you need it – providing actionable insights that will help you address issues of absenteeism and more.