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Ways to Deter Staff Absence

By Guest Author On September 2, 2011 Under Personal Development, Self Improvement, Success Secrets

           The managers are at the first line of management.   As the rank and file employees answer directly to them, the managers have the greatest influence on how the employees behave and how positive their attitudes are toward the company they are working for.   The employees’ perception of the company and how they see the importance of each of their roles are critical to the success of the business.

          This is the exact reason why managers should have the right “ people skills ” to be able to effectively motivate the staff and deal with difficult problems.   Managers must serve as the mentors of the staff  so every employee would have a someone to look up to and turn to for coaching and support and for any questions relating to career development and direction.   Thus, a manager needs to be a good leader to be able to guide his staff  and a follower of company policies so that he will serve as a role model to his people.

           Work culture and good staff management  are powerful forces that affect staff retention.    It is to be remembered that employees who feel good about themselves and are satisfied of their roles and contribution to the business are likely to reflect this in the way they help drive the business forward.    In much the same way that improper people management can also force the employees to leave.   Thus, it is vital that managers are trained to motivate, coach and supervise his people.

           As managers are in the frontlines directly handling the staff and encounters various problems every day,  for example, poor work ethics, various customer complaints, bad performance, low work productivity, etc., they must know exactly how to handle these problems, take appropriate action, and cope with stress at the end of the day.

           Studies show that almost two out of three employees who are absent are not physically ill.   Unscheduled absences are one of the major causes of low productivity.   This is often a result of a lack of firm  staff policies and want of  good staff discipline.  

           For other companies, managing absenteeism falls directly unto the hands of the immediate supervisors or frontline managers.    This is due to the fact that the managers are the ones who would be most aware of the situation of their employees and would very well know the circumstances surrounding  the fact of the employees’ absence.   Also, they are the ones who are in the best position to notice the problem at the earliest stage and identify its cause.   Therefore, their active involvement in the company’s absence policy and disciplinary procedures  is vital to the effectiveness and success of these policies.

           It is, however, unfortunate that most managers are not very well trained in managing absenteeism in the workplace.   They have been left on their own and without any means to carry out the often unpopular task of identifying, confronting and resolving frequent absence abuse.

          To ensure that supervisors and frontline managers are comfortable and competent in their role of managing absenteeism, they need to have the full support of senior management.   All parties must be aware of the objectives of the absence policies and procedures.   Should there be discrepancies between departments; a policy can lose its effectiveness.

          To provide more consistency, supervisors should be trained in their responsibilities about managing absenteeism,  taught how to conduct a return-to-work interview, and educated in the use of disciplinary procedures when necessary.

          Managing absenteeism requires a firm company policy.   But above all else, it must have a back up plan if ever the problem still remains rampant.   It must ensure that the work is appropriately covered during the term of the employee’s absence.   There should be a reliever to keep up with the work so as not to slow down productivity.

          Importantly, critical actions must be taken to instill to the employees that absence abuse will not be tolerated and there are appropriate sanctions for these unjustified absences.  Some of the usual policies and absenteeism deterrents can be:

  • Having a written and concretized absence policy program which provisions, including its disciplinary measures, must have been made known to the employees beforehand;
  • Confirming from the employee’s household when the former phones in sick.  This would usually require a visit to the residence of the absent employee;
  •  Having a detailed record of absences which specifies the cause of the absence, medical record form the physician, days of absence, date of return and the like;
  • Identifying patterns or trends of absence of employees and the actual cause or causes of these absence trends;
  • Conducting return-to-work interviews; and
  •  Imposing disciplinary sanctions if there is a need to do so.
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