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5 Ways to Combat Absenteeism and Improve Your Bottom-Line

We previously wrote about the ills of presenteeism (when workers show up to work when they shouldn’t), but make no mistake: its twin, absenteeism, remains just as much of a problem – and perhaps an even more visible one.

Here are 25 steps you can take to reduce absenteeism among your workforce.

1. Articulate and distribute attendance policies that set clear expectations.

2. The policies should establish attendance requirements (e.g., start times), what happens if requirements are not met, and what employees should do when they know they need to be late or take time off.

3. Enforce those policies consistently across all employees.

4. Train supervisors and managers to enforce the policies in the same way.

5. Build some flexibility into attendance policies to account for one-off situations.

6. Review and fine-tune attendance policies as needed, if some element is not working.

7. Reward good attendance (no unplanned absences per review period), e.g., with discretionary bonuses.

8. Review time off policies to determine if they inadvertently encourage absenteeism.

9. Offer enough PTO that employees do not need to call in sick to meet non-work obligations.

10. Don’t offer a set number of “use it or lose it” sick days that encourage time off when well.

11. Determine if company culture inadvertently encourages absenteeism.

12. Don’t allow managers to penalize employees who use all of their PTO versus those who don’t.

13. Don’t require workers to be responsive to work emails and calls even after hours.

14. Determine if compensation inadvertently encourages absenteeism.

15. Pay fair wages; low-wage workers are more likely to engage in absenteeism.

16. Take steps to keep workers engaged with their work and, thus, less likely to abuse attendance policies.

17. Offer generous benefits; according to the Wells Fargo 2015 Employee Benefits Outlook, 77% of employers have found that employee benefits help to reduce absenteeism.

18. Provide wellness programs that make employees less likely to take “mental health days.”

19. Insurance provider Aetna revealed that participants in yoga and mindfulness classes reported a 28% reduction in stress and gained 62 minutes of productivity weekly.

20. Take steps to reduce work-related stress, which costs U.S. employers $200 billion annually not just in absenteeism but also in lower productivity, turnover, insurance costs, etc.

21. Consider offering flexible work options, like remote working or different shifts.

22. Consider establishing a “Results Only Work Environment” that lets employees choose their own hours.

23. Deal with bad bosses whose hostile or incompetent management may encourage workers to call in sick.

24. Similarly, let go of toxic employees whose bad attitudes can sour the working environment for others.

25. Ensure that time off policies comply with relevant regulations, like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Jury Duty, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (e.g., for religious observances), etc.

Need more information on workplace attendance and employee engagement? CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR best practices, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our integrated HR outsourcing solution, contact us today.