Like it or not, absence management is a thing every team needs. The bigger the team, the greater the possibility of absences – but the lesser the impact. The smaller the team, the lesser the possibility…but the magnitude of the risk it might put on your daily operations skyrockets. And let’s not even mention what a devil employee absences can be when you’re crawling towards the end of an important project.
That said, the way many businesses tackle employee absence management is horrible. Either being too strict (rarely too soft) or not facilitating a proper absence management environment, enterprises risk their overall well-being. Managing a team is a science and an art in itself, and setting up the whole absences policy thing is not just getting a sharpie and drawing square with dates on a whiteboard.
Types of absences for dummies
Let’s first elaborate on a simple fact: there are various types of absences.
You might have an employee who is sick in the short-term – an absence that will last from 2 days to a week. While surely problematic at some times, this is an ordinary event for any business and doesn’t involve high risks. (Well, except when you’re 3 days away from finishing up with your financial quarter.) Easily solved by keeping a flexible schedule for your employees or letting your team members work from home.
Then, there is the repeated short-term sickness that might arise if a condition fluctuates and your employee thought they were okay, but they aren’t. A bit more specific to tackle, but still alright in terms of resolving the issue.
Without any doubt, the most risky scenario are the long-term absences, spreading all the way from a week’s absence to a month or even two. Serious declines in a team member’s well-being, maternity or paternity leaves, other reasons for a long-term absence to occur…Long-term pauses require careful absence management that has to be ingrained in your company’s policies before even occuring.
Now that we’ve got the basics, let’s move over to a few practices you can utilize to step up your absence management game.
Tackling absence management the proper way
There are many ways you can employ to facilitate proper absence management. You might follow a softer route, or go with the carrot and the stick method. Both have their positive and negative sides, but perhaps the best take on absence management is the middle ground. Keep in mind that it also depends on your team and their characteristics.
Lay down the attendance groundwork
It all begins from here. Your absence management will be based on the rules you have introduced to your employees. As soon as the job hire interview rolls, you should clearly set how your business sees attendances and absences. What is acceptable and what is punishable? What mechanisms have you thought out to conduct proper absence management? How is your company’s work schedule organized?
Your team members should know all the attendance-related basics from the get go. In case your business is larger in scale, you should also point out to whom should your employees communicate their absence. Supervisors, team leaders, HRs…Start with the basics so you can build an intelligent absence management mechanism upon that.
Incentivize, incentivize, incentivize
People are lazy. If we’re given the chance, there’s a high possibility we’ll just lay around and procrastinate endlessly. Your employees also have that hint of laziness in them. That’s why “fake” absences are a pretty common occurrence. A phone call the night before or worse – in the morning, and a sudden “illness” that bars your team members from coming to the office.
However, fake illnesses have a nemesis, and this is the method of introducing an incentive for employees being present. In case your team’s attendance rate is low, maybe it’s time to think of something that will motivate them to be more attentive.
Sure, the first idea that will come to your mind is a pay bonus or something in that financial vein. However, incentives may vary. For example, you might employ a policy that allows for some free days in case a team member hasn’t been absent from the office for a specific period. The actual timeframe and amount of free days as a reward are both up to you. While technically this absence management approach bears a financial meaning to your business (free day = less overall output), it’s a precious gesture from an employee’s viewpoint.
There are various incentives you can think of. We’d advise on making them more like a gesture and less like a direct financial transaction. This will help out your team’s motivation and overall communication in the company.
Accept flexible schedules as your friend
We’ve talked about the flexible schedule movement with a reason. Companies that are more innovative and flexible towards their workforce’s shifts also execute better absence management. Remember that your employees are not your enemies. They are humans and many events beyond their control can cause an absence.
Luckily, more and more companies are starting to realize this, offering custom-designed schedule for their teams. If you think about it, communicating a well-thought, diversified schedule will help your team maintain a proper work-life balance. This will reduce stress levels and boost well-being, which are two very crucial things if you want to minimize short-term absences due to illness.
You can easily overview the schedule your employees have created or leave the absence management details to your supervisors. In the past, the process was a rather dull and time-consuming one, but now there are various pieces of software to help you out.
What we take pride in Cronforce as a company is our laidback approach to absence management. We know that absence management can be a tough nut to crack even to established businesses (new ones have it even harder). Our Vacations & absences module tackles facilitating a proper absence management policy. It provides businesses of any scale with features ranging from dashboards to self-service workflows and real time user actions and absence support tools.
Are you experiencing difficulties in making your team more attentive? Why not try out what Cronforce can do to improve your day-to-day operations. Get your free trial with no strings attached. We promise you it will change the efficiency of your absence management.
The Cronforce.com Team