15 December 2019

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How to Tackle Absenteeism?

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Absenteeism has emerged as a prevalent defect in the organisational business conductance. It is the decision by the employees to be absent from their job, work or obligation when the management desires their presence at workplace. It becomes graver when the employees are absent without a prior notice and then justifying their absence with fake reasons.

Causes behind absenteeism

The reasons behind the occurrence of absenteeism and its level stem out of many environmental and social variables. Superficially there are numerous reasons behind absenteeism which resemble like an ordinary school boy giving excuses to the teacher for not coming. Major ones in this category are illness, accident, diseases and sickness of any family member, any urgent work or stress. But if we look beneath the surface, the situation looks more serious as it could be related to the interest level of the employee. Some of the intrinsic causes behind absenteeism are:

• The working environment might not be suited to the employee and he feels poor planning process in the complete flow of work.
• Absenteeism could also result from the fact that the employee is feeling insecure about his job and tenure.
• Lack of supervisory support is yet another factor which does not encourage the employee in undertaking new tasks and endeavors.
• Boredom on the job also encourages employees to be absent.
• Low morale is one of the basic reasons behind absenteeism from job since it’s a logical fact that if the person is not interested or lacks the driving force, he would never like to visit the work place and would make excuses for not coming.

Costs of absenteeism

Absenteeism results in many direct and indirect costs to the company. The management determines the direct costs easily but most of the times, it lacks in the judgment and analysis of the indirect costs laid on the organisation. Direct costs of absenteeism are measurable and include loss of productivity, wage and incentives paid out but the indirect costs are non-measurable and often greater in magnitude.

The most important indirect cost being the lack of employees’ morale and a sense of feeling that the other person is having a complete day off while they are still stuck at work. They find faults in this approach and blame the faulty management for not doing anything and ultimately it results in the loss of trust and confidence on the management by the employees.

With excessive absenteeism, the quality of service or product also deteriorates since every person is performing some specified job and so could not be transferred. Even if the person returns to job, he feels loaded with work which eventually leads to a stressful day and certain degree of loss of productivity. The work in that case is completed forcefully rather with interest.

The above repercussions lead to decreased customer satisfaction and a negative impact on the entire organisational culture.

How to curb absenteeism

The first step towards curbing absenteeism stems from the reduction and subsequent elimination of the factors lying beneath the surface and is often invisible by the management. Apart from those steps, other strategies to prevent absenteeism are:

Segregation of employees into categories like those who have genuine reasons for being absent, those getting absent without any reason and a further division based on which of the following two categories can be turned around. This will simplify the task of management in identifying the employees having the potential to improve.

  • Training of supervisors in a way that supports a collaborative, supportive and trusting culture with open and two-way communication channel.
  • It is the duty of the supervisor to make employees feel motivated and committed about their work. This will automatically reduce the extent of absenteeism.
  • Frequently scheduled meetings can work as a platform where the management can hear the problems of the employees as well as communicate the organisational goals to them from time to time.
  • An effective and flexible incentive and reward system could help curb the absenteeism taking place from income considerations.
  • Regular counseling of employees should be undertaken so that corrective measures could be taken on time such as modification of processes and job description or revamping the team structure and so on.




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