Employee absenteeism is when a person is frequently absent from their duties for personal or medical reasons. Irrespective of the reason this can cause many problems. There can be a temporary halt to the operations of the company. Many times it directly or indirectly affects the customer experience which in long term affects the image and revenue of the organization. The absence of a single person at the wrong time can cost the company huge losses. The workforce is comprised of human beings and there are bound to be times when someone cannot work for various reasons. It is not possible to get hundred per cent of the staff to be present on all the working days. To reduce disruption in the operations reduces employee absenteeism as much as possible.

The absence of an employee is also a problem for the coworkers. They might be unable to proceed at work due to dependency. When this happens frequently, it adds to the frustration of the team. It is harmful to the entire firm because it also takes down the productivity of those who are present at work. Get a good absence management program in the place and communicate it with employees. Maintain a culture of healthy and open communication. The environment should be friendly enough to promote honest communication. It encourages people to ask questions about the program. The workers should not feel uncomfortable taking a day off when they need to. This is about making them understand to follow a proper procedure so there will not be an inconvenience due to their absence. Below are five ways to build communication around employee absenteeism.

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  • Express The Issues Of Absenteeism

Collect the data related to the working hours. Analyze these weekly time reports to understand the amount of unexcused absenteeism. Measure the impact of this unreported absence and share it with the staff. It helps them to understand the issue and allows them to correct it. Take a meeting to communicate the absenteeism policies with the workforce. Explain various terms and the processes that are to be followed.

Make a questionnaire and conduct the survey. Direct the questions towards understanding the reasons for the frequent absence. What they feel about the company policy and ask for suggestions to make it better. This data can be really helpful to improve the work culture. Maybe they don’t like their work culture and constantly feel pressured. Once the problems are identified appropriate solutions can be implemented. Again communicate all the new policies and corrections. This makes them feel important and reduces the absenteeism problem. It also improves the work environment and retention rate.

  • Design An Absence Management Policy

Pay attention to the policy designed to reduce absenteeism. Make sure that it is easy to understand and has no potential for misinformation. Make employees feel comfortable reaching back if they have anything to say about the policies. Share the updates about the implementation and impact. It helps to keep the employees involved all the time. State very clearly what is expected from them before and after going on a leave. If there are some expectations to be fulfilled during the leave, in special circumstances, it should be stated clearly.

Make sure that there is a single policy that states rules and regulations about every type of leave. The medical, personal and other types of leaves should be included in the same policy with specific criteria. Keep this as simple and crisp and possible. This makes it easy to understand but also to communicate. It is easy for employees to take a glance before applying for the leaves. The complicated lengthy documents are often neglected. That is likely to cause employees to act without understanding the policy and adding more to absenteeism.

Take frequent feedback about the policies, work environment and engagement at the workplace. Those who are more engaged at the workplace are less likely to be absent. They also rejoin sooner than they predicted in their leave application. Always look for ways to make the aspects of the organization culture better. A good environment also gives very supporting work relationships. This enhances work experience and saves employees time. They work efficiently and are comparatively happier. And in long run reduce absenteeism and increase the output.

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  • Stay Open To Communication

There can be many causes and solutions for employee absenteeism. But need to stay open to communication will always be there. It can be before, after or during the desired changes. Communication helps to avoid such issues to grow and keep them to a minimum. The problem is detected faster so there is more time for the company to understand it and come up with the solution.

While communicating the policies about the unauthorized leaves is important. The company must share how they can get their leaves authorized. The number of paid leaves they have should be clear to them. Also, make the impact of unauthorized absenteeism on their salary clear. It will help to make them feel confident about managing their leaves. Encourage them to utilize their paid leaves when they feel drained or sick. This way they get a chance to be recharged. They are more involved and energetic at work.

  • Communication During Leave Period

Before an employee goes on leave have a conversation about possible communication during this period. Many people prefer complete disconnect during their vacation while some want to stay connected. The decision should always stay with the individual as staying connected during leave should not feel like an obligation.

When someone wants to stay connected, have a proper system about when and how they want to be informed. Some people prefer text and others prefer calls. Also, make clear what aspects of the projects they want to be informed about. A person may be working on different projects at the same time which are at different stages of completion. They may not want to be informed about each. Be very specific while taking note of these things. Also, set a schedule and a contact person to carry this communication. Also, set reminders about the deadlines of projects so they can take necessary action when they need to. The intent of starting any communication should be made clear. The employee should not feel that someone trying to interfere in their medical or personal issues. It is also good to give of reminder notification for end date of a leave if they need one. Policies about the extension of the leave should be clear and must not lead to any confusion.

Listen to the staff and try to come up with solutions to avoid absenteeism. The long leaves can be shortened with little help. The entire leave can be converted into the remote working period, and productivity stays uninterrupted. For this, the employees should be encouraged to talk, share the ways they think the organization can help them. Flexibility is very important in today’s changing work environment. Instead of looking at it as a compromise, it should be utilized as an opportunity. Make a system to ensure smooth work and reporting. If there is any documentation involved, try to make it simpler. Stay connected for feedback. Ensure timely communication in remote working conditions.

  • Mode Of Communication

There can be multiple ways to communicate with the employees. The same message can be delivered in different forms. Everybody receives information in different ways. Each form of communication has a different type of impact. For some people simple text or emails are convenient. They find it easy to understand and handle. While the same email can be looked at as very formal, boring and lengthy by other employees. These employees may find a video more engaging and easy to understand. Some also think that it saves them a lot of time and improves their understanding of the message.

Some people prefer direct communication when it comes to important policies regarding absenteeism. They find it is better to discuss the doubts and concerns in person. All these modes of communication should be open to everyone when requested. If people are working remotely, an online meeting can be scheduled to discuss the matter. Communicate in various ways to everyone. The repetition also helps in the retention of the information, and they also get it in a way that suits them the best.

Summary

Employee absenteeism communication is very important to reduce the issue. There are multiple steps where employees need support with the right communication. It starts with stating the issues with absenteeism. A survey can help to design a good policy. There should be constant feedback to ensure problems are detected and resolved quickly. In a lack of proper communication, it becomes very difficult. Keep policies simple to understand. Use different modes to communicate. Stay open to communication and flexible during the leave also. Provide best work environment and support it can help to reduce duration of the leave drastically.

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