SHRM’s survey reveals that 75% of the respondent firms perceive that employee absenteeism has a moderate to large impact on their productivity and revenue.
It implies that workplace absenteeism is a serious issue and should be tackled efficiently to maintain profitability and sustainability. Therefore, every firm should focus on creating an employee-centric culture and foster a positive work environment to reduce absenteeism.
This article discusses the effective ways to reduce absenteeism and how SAVIOM’s resource management software can help reduce it.
But first, let’s understand.
What is workplace absenteeism and its effects?
Workplace absenteeism refers to an employee’s habitual, prolonged, and uninformed absence at work beyond acceptable limits. It can be due to personal factors like illness, family exigencies, etc., or professional concerns, including overutilization, lack of growth opportunities, workplace harassment, etc.
Absenteeism can have numerous consequences. First, firms have multiple projects that need to be completed timely. So, if team members, especially critically skilled, go on unplanned leaves, it can hamper the project’s progress and even halt it. In addition, the team’s overall productivity and efficiency go down due to the lack of contribution from one of the teammates.
Moreover, absenteeism results in last-minute hiring of expensive replacements. It, thus, increases project costs and reduces overall profitability. Also, hiring an incompetent employee can deteriorate the deliverable quality and lead to client dissatisfaction. All these factors cumulatively influence a company’s top and bottom line and decrease the overall organizational efficiency.
Now that the concept repercussions of workplace absenteeism are clear, let’s understand the best practices to minimize it.
How to reduce workplace absenteeism?
As already discussed, workplace absenteeism has a negative impact on the organization in several ways.
However, following the few proven tips as below can help reduce it effectively and improve organizational efficiency.
1. Assign work based on employees’ skills and interests
To complete multiple billable projects simultaneously, managers sometimes overlook skills while booking employees. If an over-skilled employee is scheduled for a low-priority or BAU job, it may disengage them and lead to absenteeism. On the contrary, booking an under-skilled employee to a critical job can cause stress, burnout, and uninformed absences. Moreover, assigning similar work for a long time can also cause disengagement and absence.
Therefore, the manager should consider individuals’ skills and interests before assigning them to projects. When employees get work matching their preferences and skillsets, it helps keep them engaged and motivated. Further, it will help increase their accountability and commitment, thereby reducing unplanned absences.
2. Ensure uniform work distribution
Managers often assign more work to high-performing or familiar employees, especially when they are niche-skilled. It often results in the allocation of work exceeding the employee’s capacity, leading to overutilization and burnout. It, in turn, may cause workplace fatigue and absenteeism.
However, using suitable optimization techniques can help avoid it. For projects with flexible timelines, managers can leverage resource leveling to modify the project’s start or end dates as per the employee’s availability. For time-bound projects, they can deploy additional employees to ease the workload through resource smoothing.
3. Promote an inclusive team culture
An all-inclusive culture is pivotal to curbing absenteeism. Hence, firms must emphasize promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D, E, &I) through several approaches. For instance, managers can create a cross-functional project team to enhance inter-departmental collaboration. Moreover, they should encourage employees to express their opinions and give suggestions freely.
Additionally, they should organize brainstorming sessions where everyone’s perspectives are given due importance. Besides, individuals should be treated equally and given equal opportunities to prove their potential irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, etc. All these factors together help develop a sense of belonging, thus, reducing absenteeism.
4. Offer sufficient vacation days and paid time off
Every employee needs a period to break the monotony, relieve the workload, and rejuvenate themselves. Thus, companies should encourage employees to take regular paid-time-off (PTO) and vacation days to help them be more productive when they return.
Moreover, organizations should draft a defined leave policy and convey clear guidelines regarding planned and unplanned leaves. It will help reinforce discipline while maintaining transparency regarding leave policies. This will also keep employees aware of the consequences of prolonged absenteeism. Besides, when the workforce gets sufficient vacation and time-offs, they won’t feel the need to take additional uninformed leaves.
5. Provide career development opportunities
Every employee has personal career aspirations. If a company fails to cater to them, they may no longer feel motivated to continue working. As a result, this can lead to prolonged, uninformed absenteeism. So, creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP) for each employee based on their career goals and objectives is essential.
Managers should also ensure that IDPs align with the company’s strategic vision. They can also assess peer-to-peer coaching, reverse mentoring, online courses, blended learning, seminars, etc. Accordingly, they can implement the most appropriate employee training model as per the professionals’ learning style, preference, and capability. Enabling individual career growth this way will help increase motivation and reduce absenteeism.
6. Organize team-building sessions regularly
As team-building activities often require groups to interact and solve problems in environments outside the office, they help enhance collaboration. It further strengthens the team’s bonding and makes it feel a part of the organization and work towards a common goal.
Furthermore, as employees understand each other’s personality better through collaboration, inter-team conflicts go down, minimizing stress and absences. Team-building events also help employees unplug from their daily monotonous work and refresh themselves to work more productively. So, making regular team-building sessions an integral part of the work culture is imperative.
7. Conduct recognition programs and feedback sessions
Organizing regular recognition programs to acknowledge high performers is the key to making employees feel valued and reducing absences. Companies should offer monetary rewards like bonuses, increments, etc., or non-monetary benefits, including flexible timing, extra leave, free health checkup, etc.
Another pivotal aspect is feedback surveys to know if the employees have issues or concerns with certain policies or workflows. Managers should also ask for suggestions, implement the most feasible changes, and convey the same. When employees feel their suggestions are heard, they are less likely to remain absent.
Given the ways to reduce absenteeism, the following section explains how resource management software can contribute.
How can advanced resource management software help?
Robust resource management software provides various functionalities that help reduce absenteeism.
- The enterprise-wide visibility and advanced filters enable the identification of the right resource for each job to prevent the allocation of an under/overskilled resource, reducing absenteeism.
- Utilization reports help identify overutilized resources and optimize their schedules proactively to ease their workload. Further, the Timesheet functionality and Forecast-vs-Actual report help managers view employees clocking in more hours than estimates, identify instances of overutilization, and mitigate them to avoid burnout and absences.
- The Open Seat feature allows publishing open positions across the organization for interested employees with matching skills to enhance engagement, reducing absences.
“Healthier employees mean happier employees. There’s less absenteeism, improved productivity, and lowered health care premium costs.” ~ Jim Link, Chief Human Resources Officer at SHRM.
Rightly said. Only when employees get a positive work environment where they feel happy, safe, and empowered; organizations can keep absenteeism at bay and stay ahead of the competition.
The above-mentioned strategies, when combined with next-gen resource management solution, will help you build an employee-centric culture. This will enhance employee engagement and reduce workplace absenteeism.
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