One of the biggest challenges that organizations face today is unplanned absenteeism. Frequent absenteeism from employees not only hampers the productivity of an organization, but it also affects the morale of hard-working employees. It is therefore essential that organizations get their act together and take necessary steps to reduce it.
Absenteeism can either be for genuine reasons or culpable. It is the responsibility of a manager to identify employees who are frequently absent, and look for steps to counter it.
Some researchers are of the view that punitive action is the only way by which unplanned absenteeism can be reduced, but this belief has few takers. You can persuade an employee to come to office but the chances that he would work wholeheartedly are slim.
You don't want to create an atmosphere where your employees come up with new ideas to call in for a day off. This will also make it more difficult for employees who genuinely need a leave to tend to their personal or family issues. Besides, you can't have different set of rules for different people as this will lead to accusations of discrimination.
Analysts have pointed out that an authoritarian style of management is one of the prime reasons behind frequent absenteeism and tardiness. Managers who set up targets that are simply unachievable or blame everyone expect themselves for any failure, put their employees under a lot of stress.
This is one of the major reasons why employees don't feel like coming to office. Organizations which fail to have an efficient leave policy in place also witness high absenteeism. In the absence of a point of contact, employees get more leverage which can lead to higher absenteeism levels.
Managers should be provided with adequate training to improve their interpersonal skills. They should also be reminded that the power that has been conferred upon them has to be used to make the organization a better place to work, not to boss around and put people off.
This will not only help you in addressing the issue, but also in tackling issues like employee turnover, and low morale among your staff.
Having a clear leave policy is essential if you don't want your employees to abuse their privileges. It is important that you explain all the policies to your employees when you recruit them so that there is no scope for miscommunication. This helps especially in case of large organizations where it is virtually impossible to keep an eye on every employee.
Trusting your employees by giving them more responsibility instills a sense of confidence in them and creates a good atmosphere in the workplace.
Unplanned absenteeism costs a few million dollars to American companies every year, so it is important that you address this issue with utmost seriousness.
If yours is a small or a mid-scale business, then the effects are much more grave. You can't completely wipe out this issue, but what you should essentially aim to do is to reduce the frequency of culpable absenteeism.