Business

Encouraging Better Levels of Attendance in the Workplace: A How-To Guide

Encouraging Better Levels of Attendance in the Workplace: A How-To Guide

Obviously, every business will experience some level of absenteeism among their staff; it is unavoidable. However, high levels of absences does mean a loss of productivity and, therefore, a dip in revenue too. As a business owner, there isn’t much that you can do to eliminate absences, but you can significantly reduce your levels of absenteeism to only the essential and unavoidable absences. Let’s take a look. 

Assess Your Existing Absence Protocols & Policies 

Most businesses already have some form of absence policy in place. It is worth reassessing your current policies as your first port of call. When they phone in to report an absence, what rules do staff have to adhere to? What criteria and expectations do you have in place regarding absences? This should include reasons for the absences, the way that they are reported and any return-to-work processes that you have in place. Your current policy could be affecting your rates of absence. You don’t want to make it difficult for people to be absent if they need to be; however, having a stricter process in place can act as a deterrent for those who would seek to take advantage. 

Prioritize Employee Health

If you want to reduce absenteeism in the workplace, you need to think about how you can encourage both mental and physical health in your employees. Some employers choose to do this by developing a wellness program. You could incorporate a subscription to a mental health service like Headspace or Happify, or one of the other apps. You could also start a cycle-to-work scheme or offer to cover or totally subsidize gym memberships for your staff partially. In addition to promoting health, this also shows your employees that you care about them beyond their capabilities in the workplace. It might be worth using a service like Vevox to deliver a poll to ask your employees what they would like to see from a wellness program. 

Think About Offering a More Flexible Approach to Working

Again, there are a lot of perfectly valid reasons for the absence, but not all of them surround illness. Working parents often have to be absent to care for children or other dependents that they might have. Car trouble or any other number of extenuating circumstances can be a cause for absence. If you were to take a more flexible approach to working and allow your staff to either work from home or adjust their working hours accordingly, then these events might not be cause for absence anymore. This again also communicates their value to them and can help to encourage higher levels of retention. 

Implement Incentives

Employee engagement and motivation have a lot to do with the rates of absenteeism. When your employees begin to check out from their job mentally due to a lack of engagement or dwindling motivation, then they are far more likely to be absent. This is why you really need to think about how you can prioritize employee engagement and drive motivation. Some businesses do this through offering incentives for each milestone achieved. This could be a financial incentive like a bonus scheme, or it could be paid time off or any other incentive that you can think of. There are obviously several legitimate reasons for absence which is why it might not always be fair to center an incentive or reward scheme around attendance rather than their performance. 

Reconsider the Benefit Package you Offer

In addition to a reward scheme, you might want to consider the benefit package that you offer as a whole. The benefit package you offer is what helps to entice employees to come and work for your business; however, once they are working for you, the package can help to increase engagement and reduce absenteeism. Think about the compensation package that you currently offer: are your staff happy with it? Is it underutilized? If so, it might not be what your staff want. You really should take the time to design a customized benefits package that your staff will enjoy. It might be worth asking for input from your employees as to what they would like to see in their benefits package. What you are able to deliver will obviously depend on your budget and your capabilities, but you should still be able to put something together for your staff. 

Hold Annual Performance Reviews

For the most part, a performance review is obviously focused on the individual’s performance and how good they are at their job. However, attendance does often have an effect on performance. After all, what does it matter if someone is good at their job if they are hardly ever there to do it? A Performance review provides you with an excellent opportunity to address your concerns regarding the absence rates of individual employees. You might even discover the real reasons behind their absences which could help you to develop an attendance improvement plan. It is important that you try not to place blame and instead listening to them without judgement. 

Drive Engagement

As mentioned above, engagement plays a huge role in attendance. Incentive schemes and the benefits package that you offer does go a long way in helping to ensure that your employees are engaged. There are, however, several other things that you can do to encourage engagement. Some businesses like to have an employee of the month program or an employee spotlight feature every month. The employee that fits the criteria, including attendance and performance markers, wins the public praise and perhaps even another reward like a voucher or perhaps a half-day or whatever you come up with. 

Providing feedback regularly is also important; praise and criticism shouldn’t be solely limited to formal settings like a performance review. If your employees have done something well, don’t be afraid to praise them publicly and in the moment. On the other hand, criticism should happen privately. Otherwise, it can be a little humiliating, and this can actually hamper employee engagement. You might also identify areas of struggle which are putting off employees and contributing to the rate of absence. 

Developing a better company culture can also help to improve employee engagement. You need to ensure that the workplace is harmonious and that the culture is healthy. Team bonding is highly important. The interpersonal relationships within the workplace are incredibly important in either encouraging or minimizing the absence rate. Get-togethers and company events outside of work can also be beneficial. The interpersonal relationships improve and help to drive engagement. 

Lastly, developing some sort of mentorship or even simply a buddy system of some sort can also help to drive engagement. Your employees can share knowledge, and this can aid in the training of new employees or be beneficial when it comes to progression and promotional opportunities. It can also help to serve as a motivational tool for employees. Obviously, you need to ensure that you have enough interest to roll out this program. 

To Sum Up 

It is important to reiterate that employees are human beings at the end of the day, and they are not impervious to illness, injury or other credible reasons which justify absences. In that respect, it is not possible to completely eliminate absences; you can, however, limit the unauthorized or unjustified absences and keep them to a minimum. One of the best things that you can do is to encourage a healthy approach to working and maintaining a solid work/life balance. 

About the author

Ombir Sharma

Ombir is a SEO Executive at The Next Hint Media, Inc. He is a SEO and writer has 2 years of experience in these respective fields. He loves spending his time in doing research on different topics.

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