SumTotal Blog

How Absenteeism is Killing your Bottom Line

June 19, 2017



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Productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers $225.8 billion annually in the United States, or roughly $1,685 per employee. Such figures are alarming and should be motivating for organizations to take measures or they’ll end up needing to impose damage control.

But what I’m finding, is that opportunities to address this issue are often overlooked; that not everyone working in HR is aware that a system can be put into place that will look at the problem and automatically minimize both the occurrence and the consequence of an absent employee.

Vacations, bad weather, sick kids, jury duty, military leave, and so many more legitimate reasons for missing work are fully justified. Although, if you’re not properly tracking and adhering to legislation and policies, compliance failure and your reputation are at stake.

While we all need to miss work at times, there are some offenders or policy abusers who disrupt productivity with their abrupt absences. You’ll experience the premium cost for yourself with the administrative burden, and likely decreased morale stemming from the potentially higher workloads of those who do make it to work.

For example, how do you treat the following?

  • Tardiness: does it count against an employee’s allowed absences?
  • An employee facing a difficult personal situation: is your policy flexible? If it is, what measures have you taken to ensure against claims of favoritism or discrimination if employees feel that certain employees are treated differently?
  • Managers with differing expectations: some might be very strict and stick to the letter of the law, while others might be seen as more relaxed or understanding. Like my colleague has written about before, managers often have unintentional bias. Do you have a process that can highlight those employees who take advantage of your organization, or employees who are habitually late? Do you reward those who follow the rules?

Tracking occurrences will pinpoint problems and even positive behaviors. By establishing patterns like tardiness or the habitual ‘long weekend’ offenders, you can use the insight to identify those involved, estimate losses due to their behavior and have automatic notifications or warnings in place.

Don’t settle for the silent bottom-line killer of accepting absenteeism and make tracking occurrences part of your workforce management strategy. Schedule a discovery call to see how tracking occurrences can lead to positive employee behavior and protect your earnings and output.

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