According to a survey, Workplace stress and conflict are some of the reasons that can lead to decreased productivity and a higher absenteeism rate.
Engaged employees help enhance productivity and profitability in any business. But when employees do not receive a conducive work culture and are subjected to prolonged stress, lack of flexible work schedules, etc., it affects their productivity and decreases their morale.
As a result, they will feel less driven to show up at work, eventually causing prolonged and unplanned absenteeism. While employees should be encouraged to take leave to revitalize their minds and bodies, planning a vacation or holiday ensures no snags at work.
Whenever an employee is absent unexpectedly and frequently from the workplace, it can also cause discontent among other staff who are left to pick up teammate’s workload. Thus, it is imperative to address this concern and implement necessary measures to curb absenteeism in the workplace.
This article explains in detail some of the effective strategies for reducing workforce absenteeism. Let’s begin with some basics.
What is workforce absenteeism?
Workforce absenteeism is a recurring pattern of unplanned absences and usually occurs when a resource is regularly absent from work.
Reasons could be either personal factors such as health concerns and family emergencies or professional factors including burnout, workplace stress, or harassment. Indeed, occasional absences from work are inevitable. However, prolonged leaves cause delays in project delivery or last-minute hiring activities, escalating costs, and compromising quality.
Thus, it is clear that habitual absences are the most challenging to employers. Therefore, businesses must implement strategies to monitor, reduce and respond to absenteeism equitably. Let’s look at the strategies below:
7 Effective strategies to reduce workforce absenteeism
Today, workplace absenteeism is increasing rapidly in organizations. While it’s not easy to eliminate it, there are some practices you can use to ensure that employees are motivated to show up to work every day.
Here are seven effective strategies to reduce absenteeism in the workplace –
Ensure competent resource allocation
A systematic approach to allocating resources across various projects provides employees with enough time to plan their leaves. For example- If a manager assigns a task to a resource and sets a deadline, and the employee knows in advance that they have a high-priority task to complete soon, they will plan the leaves accordingly.
Saviom’s resource management tool provides 360-degree visibility into the present and future bookings of resources giving insights into their availability. That way, managers can find the best-fit resource with the right skills for the project.
Additionally, considering the resources areas of interest while deploying them on suitable projects will engage them. If employees are working on a project that interests them, they will give 100% to the job, thus ensuring increased productivity. This, in turn, will motivate them to come to work every day, reducing absenteeism.
Optimize workforce utilization across the enterprise
An important factor contributing to frequent absenteeism is employee burnout. It occurs when the resources are overutilized. To combat this, managers must ascertain that work is uniformly distributed across the enterprise and no one is overworked.
They can also leverage the resource management tool, which provides a holistic view of all resource metrics such as their availability, utilization levels, etc., and ensure that the workforce is optimally utilized across the organization.
In the case of overutilization, implementing optimization techniques such as resource leveling and smoothing will help to streamline the workload. This further ensures the resource health index, boosting their morale and decreasing absenteeism.
Foster a supportive and inclusive workplace
Often, employees experience stress due to discrimination, lack of inclusion, and a conducive work environment. This can be a significant cause of frequent absenteeism. Therefore, it is vital to create a collaborative environment to ensure that employees have equal access to opportunities. In addition, it increases their eagerness to go to work and enhances a sense of loyalty toward the company.
Furthermore, organizations can adopt various leave policies initiatives and even ensure equal pay for similar roles. They can also conduct team collaboration programs that allow every employee to express their opinions and concerns. It gives employees a sense of belonging and inspires them to work and contribute better. This will foster a positive work environment and promote engagement, decreasing absenteeism.
Implement an employee engagement program
According to a survey by Gallup, highly engaged employees saw a 41% lower absenteeism. Employee disengagement can lead to dissatisfaction among them. As a result, they may find excuses to avoid work and choose to ignore opportunities where their expertise is needed.
You can increase employee engagement through a variety of methods. For example – The managers can organize various team-building retreat activities such as yoga camps, share a meal after work, play team-centered sports, etc.
In this way, the team will establish a bond and get to know one another outside of the office environment, enhancing collaboration. Additionally, these programs increase employee morale and make them want to work more often, thus reducing absenteeism.
Plan employee recognition and reward system
When a resource does not feel valued, and their work is not appreciated, their morale declines, and they are more likely to take habitual leave. Therefore, organizations must offer rewarding programs and appreciation to their employees as it provides them with a sense of belonging. This creates a positive work environment that will help in decreasing absenteeism.
For example- Managers can arrange monthly or yearly incentives and recognition awards for employees and provide them with bonuses, paid time off, gift cards, etc., that boost morale and increase performance. All of these benefits give them a reason to keep going and deliver better results next time.
Provide career development opportunities
When employees feel work stagnancy and see a lack of diverse opportunities to build their portfolio, it lowers their morale. As a result, they slowly start losing interest in work and tend to be absent. To reduce this, employers can organize various career development opportunities, upskilling programs, on-the-job training, etc.
Additionally, resources must be encouraged to build two or more skillsets by allowing them to work on multiple projects. It not only enhances their skill portfolio, but organizations also reap the benefit of improving their billability.
It means that if they do not find vacancies matching their primary skillset, their secondary skills can come in handy. This will aid in employees’ professional development and make them future-ready.
Thus, providing a space for a learning curve within an organization and offering ample opportunity to grow will make them more work-driven. Thus, leaving no room for prolonged absenteeism.
Empower employees to choose work of their interest
Managers frequently fail to consider the interests of resources when assigning them to projects. As a result, their levels of engagement and productivity suffer. Furthermore, if not addressed well, it will result in unplanned absences.
To avoid this, managers can give employees a choice to select projects of interest. By implementing a resource management tool, they can publish open positions mentioning specific requirement details such as skillset, qualifications, experience, etc. Then, all the individuals matching the demand across the organization will be notified.
Accordingly, resources interested in the open position can show their interests. Following this, the manager will screen and filter out the resources and assign the best-suited resource to a particular job. Since employees are working on projects of interest, they will be more engaged, and absenteeism will be reduced.
It will never be possible to design a workplace where all employees are operating at 100 percent at all times. But employing the above practices with the right resource management solution can prove highly beneficial to address some of the most common causes of unscheduled absences. In addition, it will help to create a healthy work environment that engages and motivates employees to perform better every day, thereby decreasing absenteeism rates.