Dealing with habitually absent employees is a tremendous burden on your company and staff in more ways than one. First, they are a financial burden when your productivity levels drop. These absences decrease productivity while increasing costs from a temporary replacement.
Second, their absence threatens department continuity and morale. Other employees have extra work in order for a department to stay on track to meeting important deadlines. This can create a direct hit to moral and affect the overall culture and atmosphere.
Fully understanding how poor attendance affects the workplace is essential to having a successful company. Knowing what this does will also give you ammunition to develop and enforce guidelines for improvements. Starting with an absence reporting system, you will be able to reduce instances of absenteeism.
How Poor Attendance Affects the Workplace
Employees who fail to show up for their scheduled shift results in more than missing a day or two of work. To take advantage of an absence reporting system, you must fully understand the cost of lost productivity.
Continuity of Productivity
Frequent absences affect the entire work group. When every employee is not at his or her work station during regular hours, remaining members of the team have to adjust. A constant flow of temporary workers might move some projects forward.
However, this will also make it difficult for managers and employees to determine how the skill set of the absent employee fits. Temporary workers also mean constantly training and retraining them to perform tasks that the permanent employee was hired to complete.
Diminished Performance Stats
Of course, absent employees impact the performance statistics for their respective departments. Not only are they hurting their performance level, but it is also affecting their coworkers. If management permits a continued practice of excessive absences without penalty, the performance of coworkers will diminish with their morale.
The cycle of low productivity will continue as long as employees who come to work on time each day. They witness concessions and will respond with poor morale and leaving your company with a high turnover rate.
Failure to Meet Growth Objectives
The next fallout from missed work days is low professional development. This puts your company in a noncompetitive position to attract more top talent. Initially, a chronically absent employee was hired for his or her professional experience and educational background.
Smart recruiting would also expect continued professional development as your company grows. However, this is never accomplished – or at the very least overshadowed – because the employee is rarely at work. The employee is never capable of becoming proficient in new job duties.
Conflict from Chronic Absenteeism
Open conflict is never a good idea for a work environment. Employees who constantly cover for a coworker with poor attendance will understandably become resentful. Silent frustration can lead to open hostility and conflict between the employees.
This tension will further decrease productivity while also creating an uncomfortable environment. Eventually, HR will begin massive recruiting efforts to replace good workers. However, not changing the culture will only repeat the cycle.
Where do you begin to make lasting changes that improves the overall workplace? Start with the realization that unscheduled absenteeism costs. Imagine what you can do to develop strategic objectives if your company had an extra $3,600 per employee.
Instead, you are spending those dollars on:
- Wages paid for unscheduled absences
- Administrative costs to managing absences
- Overtime and/or temporary worker pay
Add to these expenses indirect costs of:
- Poor quality in delivered goods or services due to understaffing and overtime fatigue
- Visible reduction in productivity
- Manager time to deal with disciplinary actions and looking for suitable replacements
- Safety issues when employees are hastily and inadequately trained
Before you allow things to get further out of hand, you should consider a smart solution. Implementing an absence reporting system will alert you to problems before they get to an extreme point.
What You Can Do to Arm Your Company
Employee absenteeism is a difficult problem to tackle if you try to do it without an effective tracking mechanism in place. You will always get legitimate and poor excuses for why employees miss a day or two of work.
It can become challenging to monitor, control and reduce these instances effectively. Unless your attendance policy requires a written doctor’s excuse, it is difficult to determine whether an employee is actually sick.
Simultaneously, it is just as important that you consider the extra costs of having a sick employee infect others. Taking time off is not the ultimate problem; taking too much time off that negatively impacts your business is the larger issue.
Resolving the issue begins with recognizing patterns. Once your attendance system alerts your to exceptions and other issues, you may consider several solutions:
- Incentives for good attendance
- Communicate attendance expectations
- Make employees feel safe to discuss personal problems that may be the culprit
Occasional absences are expected. Being prepared to deal with missed work days before your profit margins are affected empowers you to respond to and reduce absenteeism.