Effective Tips HR Leaders

6 Effective Tips HR Leaders Can Use to Address Workplace Absenteeism

Every now and then an employee misses work, but when they make a habit of it, then you know it’s time for some workplace absenteeism management!

Left unchecked, culpable absenteeism could not only reduce productivity and morale but also lead to poor service delivery from employees who do show up.

These indirect costs of workplace absenteeism are far-reaching and could negatively impact your bottom line.

  • Take, for instance, a restaurant employee who is forced to work extended shifts. Aren’t they likely to suffer from fatigue and low attentiveness?
  • They also pose a great health and safety risk which could translate into lawsuits and high compensation fees.

These tips will help you get the support you need from management to enforce an absence control policy.

Hire the Right People

Address absenteeism from day 1 by employing people who are passionate about what they do.

Ensure that they’re a great behavioral and cultural fit for your business by asking the right questions during the interview.

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Here are a few interview questions that might help you determine whether a candidate’s goals, behavior, and values align with your company’s priorities:

  • What’s your dream job?
  • What gets you excited about coming to work?
  • When and where do you do your best work?
  • What kind of manager would you need to excel at your job?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What does a successful company culture look like to you?
  • What will be your next career move if we don’t hire you?

The right hire will be more motivated to come to work and they’ll be driven to see your business succeed.

Determine Your Absenteeism Rate

Knowing the absenteeism rate in your organization is critical, especially if you’re required to hire a substitute during absences.

Check your attendance sheet or HR software and find this data:

  • The number of absences
  • The number of employees in your company
  • The number of lost workdays (hours lost multiplied by hours in a standard workday)
  • The number of scheduled work hours
  • The number of scheduled work hours lost to absenteeism
  • The average number of hours lost per employee
  • The average number of hours an absent employee works

Now you can calculate the workplace absenteeism rate with this formula:

Absenteeism rate = Average number of employees x lost workdays

Average number of employees x total workdays

What value did you come up with? The absenteeism rate for all full-time wage and salary employees is 2.9%, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. The public sector, healthcare, and education industries report the highest rates.

For a better view of your attendance rates, you can calculate these metrics:

  • The severity rate, which measures the average percentage of time lost for every absent employee.
  • The inactivity rate, which measures the percentage of work hours lost to absenteeism.
  • The incidence rate, which measures the number of absences for every 100 employees.

Severity rate = Average number of hours lost per employee x100

Average number of hours the absent employee works

Inactivity rate = Number of scheduled work hours lost to absenteeism x100

Total number of work hours scheduled

Incidence rate = Number of absences x100

Number of employees

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Identify Patterns of Workplace Absenteeism

Compare your absenteeism rate between periods. Do you notice any patterns? Are employees absent just before a long weekend or a planned absence? Patterns will help you devise solutions to improve attendance.

If, for instance, the rate goes up during flu season, you can protect your employees by disinfecting common areas such as the breakroom.

Another effective strategy would be to provide wellness and prevention education. Train employees on diet, exercise, and how to stay healthy at work.

To ensure higher course completion rates, start using an LMS like World Manager. It delivers courses in engaging micro chunks of information and allows employees to learn on their mobile devices 24/7.

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World Manager’s Training is a cloud-based platform designed to be accessible from any device

Next, determine whether employees follow company rules when they request time off.

Hold Employees Accountable

One of the hardest conversations an HR manager can have is calling an employee out on their mistakes. But proactive communication is required to establish accountability among employees.

These steps will help you get the information you need to get your absent employee back on track and iron out any misunderstandings.

Step 1

Schedule a meeting with an employee to determine their reasons for skipping work. Remember, you don’t have all the information, so refrain from sounding accusatory.  Instead, show concern and use probing questions rather than blaming statements.

Step 2

Put yourself in the employee’s shoes as you listen to their side of the story. Help them to understand the impact of their actions and the need for change then draw up an agreement in the next steps.

Step 3

Record and sign off on the agreement and set a date and time to check in with the employee. Make it clear that you expect to see an immediate change in their behavior and what disciplinary action they should expect if they fail – Boundary Setting 101.

Step 4

Track their attendance over time and acknowledge the employee’s efforts to improve. If you don’t see an improvement in attendance, apply disciplinary measures such as a warning letter, suspension, or dismissal.

Reasons for Employee Absence and What You Can Do About It

Cause for absence Action
Illness Verify the employee’s illness through a medical certificate or doctor’s note
Disengagement Find out their goals and empower them
Burnout Monitor employee’s workload and nurture work-life balance
Caregiving responsibilities Provide flexible work schedules or allow the employee to work remotely from time to time
Harassment Enforce an open-door policy for employees to report cases of harassment or bullying
Time theft Use an HR platform to track extended breaks and lateness
Work injuries Provide proper training, tools, and working conditions

Institute a Clear Absence Management Policy

Create a workplace absenteeism policy that clearly defines what an acceptable absence looks like. This will make your managers more proactive in addressing unplanned absence, ensuring consistency in all your departments.

A new hire should be made aware of this policy too. Communicate the protocols and procedures for absence so that there’s no room for confusion.

Clearly convey the impact of their absence on their colleagues, clients, and the bottom line so that they will take the policy seriously.

Once you have your policy in place, make it available to everyone on the team through an online platform. This will make it easier for the staff to ask for time off and get approval from their manager.

Spell out the rules, expectations, and consequences for absence and enforce the policy consistently. It should apply to all employees, regardless of their role or superiority.

Reward Attendance

Acknowledge employees with positive attendance records to boost their morale. You can give them extra paid time off, gift cards, or a cash bonus.

How much you’re willing to spend on rewards depends on the nature of your business – and you’re generally better off offering products over services.

World Manager has a Reward and Recognition Program that automatically rewards employees for their achievements throughout their tenure.

It helps you manage an employee’s lifecycle from onboarding to the exit interview and gives you real-time reports.

You can use World Manager to train and develop your employees and manage attendance across multiple locations.

Try the World Manager LMS for yourself by booking a demo, a process that takes less than an hour.

To determine whether the LMS is a good fit for your business, you’ll receive a 5 to 10-minute callback. If both you and the World Manager expert agree to take it to the next step, you can set up a 30-minute video call to discuss your business needs in-depth.

You’ll have a deeper understanding of the World Manager LMS, communications, operations, and employee development tools at the end of your video call. If you and World Manager decide to explore the LMS further, you’ll have a 1-hour face-to-face video call/webinar.

The World Manager expert will walk you through the LMS functionality so you can understand how a customized platform can address these needs.

Book a demo to start addressing your workplace absenteeism with an effective centralized tracking system today.

Disclaimer: This information is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor World Manager will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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