Change Needed to Change Attendance

We already discussed the power of combining a reward for consistent attendance with a deterrent to minimize missed days among employees.  But have you considered the company’s role in any trends?

Gene Levine Associates say companies should strive for absenteeism below 3 percent. If rates rise above this, you need to determine motivating factors. Legitimate family or chronic illness issues are beyond your control. Yet human resource experts consistently mention work conditions as an often unaddressed issue that has proven impact on attendance levels.

Interestingly, a study quoted by Levine shows that perceived low pay and an employee’s belief that they’re being “overworked” don’t seem to have tremendous impact on absenteeism rates. However, two key factors can create tremendous change:

  1. Improve the physical working environment. Too hot, too cold? Makes more than Goldilocks want to run away. If the space you’re asking people to spend eight-plus hours a day is drab and depressing, it’s likely they’ll look for excuses to head to the beach. Something as simple as new, ergonomic chairs could lead to more productivity and fewer missed days (after all, Georgetown University reports that some 83 million days of work are lost per year due to back pain, making it a leading cause of work-loss days as well as work limitations).
  2. Improve management style. No one feels much loyalty to a boss that is a bully. If you have one or two managers over groups with high absenteeism rates, you can bet there’s an issue with the manager of those groups. You may want to consider anonymous surveys conducted by an independent source if you can’t identify a clear problem. However, careful observation may be all that is necessary to pinpoint areas of needed change. Management training or switching individuals to a different position may be all that’s necessary. Don’t assume supportive management is everyone’s style.

Absenteeism-it’s gonna happen. You’re job is to do all you can to minimize it.