Do you know how much employee absenteeism is costing your company? It’s estimated that unscheduled absenteeism in the workplace can cost as much as $3,600 per year for an hourly worker and over $2,500 per year for an employee on salary. These costs include the wages spent on employees who aren’t working, the replacement cost for workers, and the management costs your HR department incurs due to absent employees.
Minimizing the time that employees are absent makes sense both for morale and for your bottom line. However, until you identify why your employees have unscheduled absences, you can’t fix the issues.
Causes of Absenteeism in the Workplace
It’s a mistake to think that absenteeism is always a product of laziness or employees who try to get out of work whenever they can. There can be many underlying causes that are more to do with your workplace than with the employees themselves. Here are nine of the most common.
Illness or Injuries
Sometimes, absences are unavoidable due to illnesses or injuries. The problem comes in when employees fail to let management know they won’t make their shift. Whether they report their absence hours after their shift has started or not at all, it’s important to realize that this is often a situation that can be easily resolved.
By utilizing a system where employees can easily communicate with the HR team that they will be late or absent, employees will be more likely to report their status as soon as they know it. This allows your HR team to fill holes and cover shifts promptly.
Do you have a bullying or harassment problem? You might not realize that your absenteeism problem is actually a symptom of something much worse. Employees avoid work when they’re being harassed for the same reason that kids skip school when being bullied.
Make sure you have an open-door policy and encourage employees to report any harassment incidents. You should also try to be a part of your work environment instead of shutting yourself in an office. This allows you to identify issues that could otherwise stay hidden.
Employees who are not committed to their jobs tend to find excuses not to come in. Disengagement comes in many forms. It can be due to lack of respect for management or feelings of unfair treatment. It can also be due to lack of feedback from managers or a perceived lack of freedom or flexibility.
While some engagement issues are simply due to the wrong people in the wrong position, many can be solved with tools that empower and recognize employees.
Low Workplace Morale
No one wants to come into a work environment where conflict is rife. The importance of maintaining good employee morale in your organization cannot be stressed enough. Treating employees with respect and giving them freedom to make decisions is the backbone of a healthy work environment.
Once this standard has been set, you can explore other ideas such as paid time off, workplace ‘fun days’, or other events to boost morale. Keep dialogue open and ask for feedback to get more ideas from your team.
Child or Elder Care Issues
Employees who struggle with child or elder care issues may find it difficult to make it into work on time or give advanced notice when they need to take time off. Consider implementing flexible work schedules so these employees can work from home or come in earlier in the morning to make up time and get their work done. Put a system in place where these employees can easily communicate their schedules to HR managers and keep everyone in the loop.
Stress can lead to a number of problems. Employees who are under extreme stress due to work or personal reasons get sick more often, may have poor morale, and they are more likely to quit without notice.
While you cannot mitigate all of the stress your employees might have, you can put systems in place to help. Absence management solutions can help your HR team identify workers who may be racking up too much overtime or engaging in other stressful behaviors. This allows you to change their schedules or bring them in for a meeting before the situation gets out of control.
Do you have workaholic employees? Can you recognize and mitigate this behavior before it leads to burnout? Keep track of employees who constantly work late or take extra shifts and make adjustments before they crash.
Absenteeism isn’t necessarily missing full days of work. Coming in late, leaving early, or taking extended breaks can also cost your business money. Give your HR team the tools they need to track and manage these abuses of time before they become bigger issues.
Lack of Flexibility
Employees who value flexibility tend to rebel when they are not able to manage their schedules in a way that works for them. These employees may react by purposefully coming in late or abusing breaks. Provide these employees the flexibility they thrive on and you can reduce their instances of absence.
Don’t let employee absenteeism cost your business time and money. By identifying the causes that are often behind absenteeism, you can put tools in place to create a healthier workplace and happier workers.