Attendance Challenges

Almost every situation possesses some unique factor or cause.  In the case of employee absenteeism, the axiom holds just as true.  Employees miss work for a variety reasons stretching between the completely justified to the absurd.  Nevertheless, most of the time, a core issue resides behind the absenteeism.  Some of the most common reasons for missing work include:

  • Accidents or illness
  • Poor working conditions
  • Low morale
  • Job related stress
  • Home related stress
  • Lack of engagement
  • Poor leadership
  • Poor health
  • Transportation issues
  • Unmanageable workload
  • Child care issues

Not surprising, some of the reasons cluster together creating situations with multiple causes.  If I am overworked, it is likely that I have low morale, lack of faith in leadership, and job related stress.  Similarly, if there are issues at home, then transportation and childcare issues are common as well.

How should we deal with these situations?  Most organizations recognize the cost and set aside financial resources.  Some estimates place the average cost of absenteeism as high as eight percent of total payroll.  However, most organizations place too little emphasis on the non-financial element of the solution.

Find out the reason

When an employee misses work more than the norm, you should meet with the employee and determine the reason.  The environment should be open and conversational.  From the meeting, you should be able to produce a short list of the reasons.

Determine assistance

Based on the reasons gathered, determine what programs or accommodations should be made to assist the employee.  Review federally mandated programs as well as internal assistance programs.  If a program is not available through the employer, time off or flexibility in scheduling might solve the issue.

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