The Cost of Employee Absenteeism

The reasons employees may be absent from
work are varied and many but the bottom line is, absenteeism has a larger cost
associated with it than many people realize. In the United States on a yearly
basis, absenteeism costs companies just under $3000 per salaried employee,
while the cost is just under $4000 per hourly paid worker. These cumulative
costs can become quite significant, which means companies really should look
into implementing systems which help them to keep track of work force absences
and attendance, so that they can effectively put measures in place to stem the
effects or adequately fill the gaps with less significant cost.

Why
Absenteeism?

While it is expected that workers will
at some point be absent from work through scheduled time off, as with vacation
leave or departmental days, there are also unexpected
instances
. It is the latter which makes planning more challenging,
especially when the length of time away is not known or cannot be determined.
Sick days or other eventualities such as when a worker needs to stay home to
care for an ailing child or personal business, are among the reasons for
unscheduled absences. There is also absence associated with unfavourable
weather such as during blizzards and snow days. Employees may also opt to take
time away from work because they may be experiencing undue stress on the job,
may be dissatisfied with the job or may take time off to facilitate a job hunt.

Partial absences which also impact a
company financially occur when an employee shows up substantially late for work,
takes long lunch breaks, or asks to leave early. In these situations, one off
partial absences will not be so significant, but sustained and habitual
behaviour certainly will.

The Effects of
Absenteeism

All of these instances create situations
where other employees may be required to fill the gaps for the business to
function smoothly. As a result, over time work generally becomes necessary for
damage control, which inevitably increases the payroll bill, while the absent
employee will still need to be paid although not on the job.

The effect continues with a drop in
productivity because of the reduced staff complement and restriction in the
scope of operation of a department. This is especially felt when the missing
employee is highly skilled or plays a critical role within the company. Workers
who are not as well equipped with the particular skill sets required may be
given the responsibility of attending to those functions. Here is where a drop
in efficiency will be seen, because they cannot move at the preferred pace and
may not necessarily possess all the know-how required to do an effective job.

The ripple effect continues with the
remaining members of the work force who are required to fill the gaps becoming
over extended and feeling stressed and exhausted due to the increased demands
from work. This may give rise to a greater number of unscheduled absences in
the future due to these workers too needing time away to rejuvenate themselves.
A possible spin off may result in high turnovers, another yet future possible
outcome.

What Can Be
Done To Help Control Absenteeism?

To prevent a possible work case scenario
as hinted at from the outset, companies can look into implementing systems
which will afford them greater control in terms of workforce management. There
are several approaches which can be applied to these situations.

Workforce
Management of Time Tracking Software

Time and attendance systems help employers to keep track of the hours worked by each
employee and also monitor attendance trends. These systems create great transparency
as they allow employees to be able to see their total entitlements, how much
they have already taken and what they have remaining at any given point in
time. Some systems can also be customized to send out alerts when there are
irregularities or even have a feature which allows a points and incident log to
let managers, supervisors and employees know their standing. There are many
obvious benefits to this solution.

Employee
Incentive Programs for Attendance

Some companies have opted to implement
an incentive program to encourage consistent attendance. Allowing extra
scheduled time off earned for no absences during a particular time frame has
proven to be an effective perk. Some companies have chosen to implement
measures which will cater to the overall well-being of their employees through
wellness programs. While initially costly, the long-term benefits are well
worth it.

Raising
Awareness of the Paid Time off Policy

The means utilizing the Human Resources
department to ensure that all workers are fully aware of the paid time off work
policy, gaining knowledge of their entitlements and the applicable sanctions associated
with persistent breaches.

Employers know that absences are unavoidable
due to any number of reasons -scheduled or unscheduled. Taking measures to stem
the effects of habitual absences on the remaining employees and the company’s
bottom line is the most prudent course of action.