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Absenteeism causes migraines for a lot of bosses. Obviously, your company will make healthier profits, if you don’t have an absenteeism problem.

Check your attendance records. You’ll see Monday is the most-abused day of the week and January is the worst month for absenteeism.

For good reason, employers often cringe because they distrust the reasons some employees call in sick. 

Absenteeism can be a real head slapper.

But it’s crucial to be open-minded and to consider the perspectives of your employees.

Absenteeism is a red flag that your employees aren’t fully engaged in their work.

They often feel a lack of support from management, and are frustrated with a lack of tools and resources that limit their performance.

This typically results in inefficiency or minimal productivity, high turnover, increased costs in sick pay and replacement employees, and customer dissatisfaction.

Toxic indicators

Further, high absenteeism is one of the five prime indicators that your workplace environment is toxic.

The other four indicators:

— Your employees aren’t recommending your company to their friends as a great place to work.

— Employees with the highest absenteeism usually lack friends among their coworkers.

— Workers don’t actively support your customer-service initiatives – usually because they don’t love their jobs.

— Your customers aren’t fans of your company, and customer feedback doesn’t meet your expectations.


Check your attendance records. You’ll see Monday is the most-abused day of the week and January is the worst month for absenteeism.


Here are 13 tips to manage absenteeism:

  1. Start by making sure your efforts don’t lead to legal problems. In this litigious society, it’s important to avoid EEOC discrimination suits.
  2. Train your managers. True, they need to know your legal obligations. But train them in employee engagement, and how to deal with disgruntled workers.
  3. Remember the phrase, “Let it begin with me.” It’s important to make certain that you’re perceived as an effective leader, not just a supervisor. Lead by a disciplined example. Be a leader, not a caretaking manager. Remember leaders continuously upgrade recruitment procedures.
  4. Evaluate your culture. It’s not easy to develop a culture in which everyone is on the same page. If profits are at stake, a cultural change is in order.
  5. Understand the root causes and the gravity of the problem. Is it with just one employee or is it widespread among your workers? Try to be patient with individuals. Personal problems are often factors, as are long commutes to work. Carefully recruit workers who live fairly close to the workplace.
  6. Incentivize fewer days off. It’s not always necessary to pay higher wages. Strangely, less-efficient workers take fewer breaks. So encourage them to take breaks and socialize with one another.
  7. Everyone needs a vacation to avoid stress and health problems. Create an annual leave policy and enforce it. That includes not allowing employees to cash out their vacations.
  8. Clearly indicate a policy that complies with FMLA. But you can legally take steps to make certain it isn’t abused, for example, require a doctor’s confirmation for any leave.
  9. Double-down on efforts for employee engagement. Listen to your staff. Let employees know you care about their welfare, and that you appreciate their dedication to the organization. You’ll generate more profits if you partner with your employees.
  10. Discuss operational costs – the link between their attendance and productivity. Explain how their roles affect the success of the organization – from teamwork and morale to customer satisfaction.
  11. Make work fun. Reduce boredom with job enrichment, rotation and cross training.
  12. Be flexible. Try to accommodate special requests or scheduling.
  13. Celebrate business successes with your team. It’s great for team-building.

From the Coach’s Corner, see these related links:

Small Business – Easy Ways to Boost Your Employees’ Morale —  Employee morale affects performance. Study after study shows a significant percentage of worker morale is mediocre, at best. That’s often the case even for companies that are able to pay competitive wages and benefits. As you might guess, it’s a bigger quandary for business owners that don’t have enough cash flow for raises.

How You Can Eliminate Destructive Conflict for Better Teamwork — For better employee-team decision-making and higher performance, it’s true that constructive conflict works. Usually, the best ideas evolve when ideas are discussed and debated. But when employees fail to exercise self control and their egos get in the way, emotions flare and cliques are formed in the workplace. That’s destructive conflict.

Workplace Bullies May Hurt Retention of All Employees, Not Just Victims — Victims of workplace bullies are less likely to quit than employees who observe the abuse, according to a study by a Canadian university. The 2012 research implies a costly threat to an organization’s teamwork and productivity.

How Not to Worry about Keeping Your Top Employees — Increasingly, employers are worried about filling open slots and retaining their best workers, according to a 2012 survey of 526 human resources professionals. Sixty-one percent indicate they’re concerned about retention.

The leader follows in front.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.