All employers know that employee absenteeism is a big problem. It reduces productivity, morale and the company bottom line. The ever present challenge is how employers can prevent and reduce absenteeism. CCH, a leading provider of human resources and employment law information (hr.cch.com) conducted an unscheduled absence survey in 2005 and found that the average per employee cost of absenteeism is $660 with some larger companies losing more than $1 million per year. What is of great concern to employers is that almost two out of three employees who call in sick are not physically sick. Personal illness accounted for only 35 percent of unscheduled absences and 65% were due to other reasons including family issues (21 percent), personal needs (18 percent) entitlement mentality (14 percent) and stress (12 percent).
Companies with low morale saw higher rates and costs of unscheduled absences. 78% of human resource managers feel that the main cause of absenteeism is the belief that those who skip out of work believe they are entitled to time off. The other reason cited by human resource managers is a lack of supervisor involvement as a catalyst to discourage employee absenteeism. When managers understand the causes of absenteeism and use the EAP as a resource for assisting employees, they can play a big role in reducing absenteeism.
When employees are faced with stressful everyday life situations, it has an impact on their ability to be present in their jobs. Stressful situations include family and relationship problems, physical illness, addictions, financial difficulties including foreclosure, bankruptcy, identity theft, debt and unemployment by a spouse. If employees have a confidential, employer sponsored way (the EAP) to obtain assistance with these difficulties, they are more likely to address their problems earlier and resolve them quicker. Additional worklife and wellness programs as part of the EAP can be very helpful for employees trying to manage the stress of balancing work and family issues.
The EAP can also train managers on how to recognize and identify personal problems before they have begun to effect performance. When managers can coach employees on how to use the EAP, they stay out of the middle of their personal problems, while still offering a way to get help. Once personal problems have begun to effect performance or absenteeism, they can refer the employee to the EAP as a supervisor referral for peformance based issues. In addition, when employees know they are valued and given a free, confidential resource to address their personal problems, they feel appreciated by and more loyal to their employer.
Employers should also create incentive programs that can improve both attitude and attendance rates. This works for several reasons. Some employees may lack the internal motivation necessary to keep their spirits up and give them the drive and desire to show up to work every day. These people may need the external motivation that incentives provide.
Additionally, incentives tend to promote certain goals, which can be beneficial for employees with attendance problems. The company can create an incentive program that is specifically linked to attendance. Examples of this type of program include:
1) The ability to cash-in unused sick days at the end of a specific period
2) Allowing employees to leave early one Friday per month of perfect attendance
3) Bonus pay for periods of perfect attendance
4) Gifts such as savings bonds or gift cards for periods of perfect attendance
5) Paid time off programs which allow for personal issues, vacation and sick time all in one bank of hours so employees can use what they need when needed.
Of course employers do need to be clear with employees that if they are legitimately sick, they should stay home so that no one else at work gets sick and so they can take the time they need to get better. When the workplace culture is one that does not allow people to be ill, then it will create resentment and poor morale.
Do you have any good suggestions for preventing absenteeism? If so, we would love to hear your ideas.
Fully Effective Employees offers assistance with drug testing, management training and consultation, and confidential assistance to employees and their families with personal and work related problems.
I attended an HR Roundtable sponsored by Resourcefulhr in Seattle today. A group of HR professionals met to discuss challenges and ideas for enagaging and retaining employees.
The major topics that we discussed included:
Research has shown that unless the salary is very low, financial incentives are not always the way to reach the hearts and minds of employees. Appreciation, acknowledgement, and recognition will go a long way towards keeping employees motivated to perform. A sense of belonging to the community in which they work, feeling valued and supported by their employer are important to keep employees loyal to. Low- cost benefits like health club membership discounts, wellness and worklife programs and employee assistance programs can be implemented for a great return on investment.
All of these are fabulous ideas for keeping employees engaged. We all know the cost of recruitng and retraining new employees, so we need to be sure we keep our current employees happy.
Do you have any other ideas to contribute to this list? We would love to hear from you!
We are very excited to offer a variety of new services to our Employee Assistance Program for 2011. I will describe each new service in a separate blog.
Our Worklife Program is now enhanced and we are renaming it Work-Life Solutions. This program provides resources and referrals for every stage of someone’s life, from birth to death and all the life events in between. Now more than ever, employees are finding they are stressed with financial worries, increasing demands from their jobs, pressure to balance work and family, and coping with dependent children and aging parents. Our program can help address employees’ personal and work/life needs including:
* Balancing Work & Family
* Resources and Referrals
* Child and Elder Care needs
* Adoption Services
* Health & Wellness
* Academic Searches
* Disaster Recovery & Relief
* Interactive Tools and Videos
* Training and Calculators
We now also offer coaching to help clients cope and plan for life events such as job changes, new parenting, dealing with aging parents and retirement. Our program will help clients think more strategically and plan for the future with realistic goals and help them to manage their personal lives while attending to loved ones’ care needs.
The program also includes an online wellness program with dozens of health risk assessments, articles, videos and information about many diseases and health related issues. Individuals can assess themselves for the risk of various health concerns and then put a plan into action to take care of themselves.
Essentials of daily life management provides over 200 interactive tools, quizzes, videos and articles on mental health topics and personal growth and training.
We have a searchable database of over 800,000 national child and eldercare providers.
Our Work-life Solutions program can help build a more productive work environment by:
* Assisting employees to successfully balance their work and family responsibilities
* Decreasing employee absenteesim due to child and eldercare responsibilities
* Increasing job satisfaction by decreasing the pressure of working while trying to locate and manage dependent care issues.
* Saving employers money due to lower health insurance claims when employees have access to a health and wellness program for both emotional and physical health.
This program is available as a stand alone product and does not have to be part of the Employee Assistance Program.
For more information about our very affordable Work-Life Solutions program, please call us at 425-557-0907 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org