Every year when the flu epidemic is finally over, the number of sick calls will certainly decrease. Still, employee absenteeism is at an all-time high, as documented in various outlets. Mind you, there is still a lot that can be done to further reduce absenteeism and make your employees a bit happier. When you read on I will give you the 10 best tips on how you can reduce absenteeism as an employer.
As an employee, you can ask your boss to have a policy implemented to deal with absenteeism. In case you find no attention to your request, you will know that you are with the wrong company. Then I would advise you to check out my last paragraphs for the perfect way out.
Early recognition of symptoms
You will be aware that preventing sick leave is better than a cure. The sooner you take serious action on absenteeism prevention, the greater the chance that you can reduce it. By recognizing early signs, you prevent absenteeism or shorten its duration.
Examples of early signs of (imminent) absenteeism:
- an employee indicates that he has physical or physical complaints;
- a colleague tells that an employee is not doing well;
- you are aware of an employee’s personal problems;
- an employee looks tired or less well-groomed than usual;
- an employee behaves differently than you are used to;
- an employee’s performance deteriorates without apparent explanation;
- an employee’s contact with his colleague’s changes;
- you signal problems of an employee with customers or colleagues;
- you notice that an employee is no longer on time for work.
A good absenteeism policy can work miracles in preventing absenteeism due to illness or faked illnesses. Drawing up a tailor-made plan pays for itself quickly, in time and money. In concrete terms, a good absenteeism policy offers the following advantages:
- the agreements on how to deal with illness and absenteeism are established in a verifiable manner for the employer, employee, and company doctor;
- knowing how to early recognize the symptoms
- the procedures and steps to be followed are always clear, even if absenteeism is rare;
- it is clear when external experts (eg the company doctor) are used;
- it indicates which tasks, responsibilities, and authorities the employee, manager, personnel advisor, and company doctor have;
- it indicates which resources can be used to prevent, control, and reduce absenteeism due to illness.
In addition to having this policy, there is so much more you can do. Here are the 10 tips:
1. A healthy and safe workplace
Preventing absenteeism starts with a good workplace. For example, make sure that desks are at the right height, that the temperature is well regulated, that there is sufficient fresh air and sufficient daylight. I am sure there must be various internet sites all over the world, where you can read more about the legal regulations that a healthy and safe workplace must meet. And implementation will cost less than having so many workers at home.
2. A pleasant working atmosphere
Employees are less likely to call in sick if the atmosphere at work is pleasant. Keep this in mind as a manager and intervene if people are excluded or if other friction arises between employees. What seems small can actually be much bigger. Give compliments regularly, where necessary and if well deserved. Let them know you really mean it.
3. Prevent stress
Did you know that every year a ton of people call in sick only due to work stress? Not feeling appreciated, passed over for promotion, too much work, not enough work, there are so many causes. Prevent stress by picking up signals early, by giving people a clear job description, and by ensuring good working conditions and sufficient breaks. If your employee ends up in burnout, you (and your employee) are much further from home.
4. Map out absenteeism
Despite the above solutions, there may still be absenteeism in your company. If you want to tackle this in a targeted manner, you will first have to map it out well as mentioned above in a policy. So, you will need to register the cause of the absence, the frequency, and the duration of absence per employee. Use these results to create a plan of action.
5. Clear absenteeism protocol
Clear absenteeism rules prevent employees from calling in sick on improper grounds (for example because the children are sick) and that they know how to call in sick. Not by app and preferably with the direct manager. With a clear absenteeism protocol, you as a company also show that you take sick leave seriously. Make sure it is accessible to everyone and discuss it at least once a year in a team meeting.
6. Control in your own hands
Do not place the responsibility entirely on Human Resources, the company doctor, or occupational health and safety service, but keep control in your own hands. After all, the company is ultimately responsible. Also, dare to ask the doctor or occupational health service critical questions about the course of the illness and the expectation of return. That’s what you pay him for. It is also good to appoint someone in the company as a case manager who acts as a discussion partner for the doctor/occupational health and safety service.
7. Working helps
The longer someone stays at home, the more difficult it becomes to return to work. Therefore, try to get sick employees back into the workforce as soon as possible, if the situation allows. Whether through shorter working days or through adapted work. This is also in the interest of the sick employee. To keep things from going from bad to worse.
This is one of the most important tips, especially for people with burnout.
8. Be creative
Sometimes it helps to think creatively. If you have the feeling that someone is burned out, just send them on leave for a few days, of which, for example, they only have to use half of their vacation days. Or if you notice that the absenteeism is due to problems with childcare at home, solve this for example by having someone work from home or by shifting working hours. Don’t think too rigidly, but be open to solutions.
9. Stay in touch
How would an employee feel sitting at home being sick and hearing nothing from the company? Do not leave sick employees to their own devices, but ensure regular contact. It can be the boss as well as the colleagues. Not only does that have a motivating effect, but it also allows you to estimate how progress is progressing. So call regularly and visit the sick one.
10. Lead by example
Giving a good example will be followed, and so will a bad example too. If you as a manager are absent for many days, employees think that it is apparently normal. Of course, it is difficult to go to work if you are really ill, but by showing up at work with a snot nose, you do send a signal that absenteeism is very often just a choice.
Is your manager not like anything described above? Then please read on and find your way out!
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