It’s common for employees to miss a day of work now and again. A child gets sick. An employee attends a funeral. Flu season hits. When absences become excessive, however, then employers need to take action.
Employee turnover is one of the most important HR metrics and excessive absenteeism is a strong predictor of future employee turnover problems. Turnover seemingly increases every year with an 88% increase in employee turnover since 2010.
5 tips to reduce employee turnover and absenteeism:
Create and enforce an attendance policy
Embrace flexible schedules
Enhance employee engagement and communication
Offer training and career development opportunities
Stay competitive on your salary and benefits
What causes employee turnover and absenteeism?
A variety of factors can cause employee turnover and absenteeism.
Common reasons for employee turnover:
Found a job that paid more money
Relocated to another city
Limited growth opportunities
Found a job closer to home
Burnout and stress (yes, this makes both lists)
Little or no recognition of employees
Little or no feedback for employees
Common reasons employees are absent from work:
Illness of employee or family member
Car or Home emergency
Death of a family member
Bullying or discrimination
How can you reduce employee turnover and absenteeism?
To reduce employee turnover and absenteeism, you need to understand why employees are leaving or not showing up to work.
Are you getting employee feedback on your work environment? On your culture? Do you create an environment where open communication is welcomed?
Do your employees feel valued? Supported? Do they feel like part of the team? Or do they feel overworked and underpaid?
Are you providing medical and wellness benefits? Do you encourage healthy behavior? Employees receiving enhanced medical care “reported 8.2% greater productivity and 28.4% less absenteeism over 2 years.”
Do they need more time to balance family obligations with work? Perhaps adding in more flexible working arrangements or giving them more say in their shifts would help.
Here are 5 tips to reduce employee turnover and absenteeism:
Create and enforce an attendance policy: In your employee handbook, you should specifically address issues related to attendance so that employees know what to expect. For example, specify the general rules for attendance specific to your company, such as shift work or required weekly hours. List approved absences and if any documentation is required (such as a doctor’s note for illnesses). Finally, be sure to highlight any methods or tools for tracking attendance and absences as well as the consequences for not following these policies.
Embrace flexible schedules: With people working multiple jobs or trying to balance family obligations with work schedules, employers should offer flexibility around locations, off-site schedules, work hours, and shifts, where possible. According to the Harvard Business Review, “[e]mployees without access to flexibility are twice as likely to report being dissatisfied at work, and half of employees say they would leave their company if offered a more flexible alternative.”
Enhance employee engagement and communication: In a recent study covering 2.7 million employees, Gallup found that companies in the top quartile of employee engagement have reduced absenteeism by 81 percent. Further, there was 18 percent less turnover in high-turnover organizations and 43 percent less turnover in low-turnover organizations.
Offer training and career development opportunities: Lack of career development and training opportunities has been the number one reason employees leave for the past ten years. Companies with robust training and career development platforms can reduce employee turnover by 30-50 percent.
Stay competitive on your salary and benefits: Leaving a job for a better opportunity—including higher pay—has historically been at the top of the list of why people quit their jobs. It’s no different today. Companies highly rated in their salary and benefits offerings see a 56 percent lower turnover rate than companies not highly rated.