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What is Employee Absenteeism?
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What is Employee Absenteeism?

March 15, 2019
What is Employee Absenteeism?

Employee absenteeism is any case of voluntary non-attendance at work where no valid grounds for the absence are in place. According to a definition by Investopedia, absenteeism is a habitual non-presence at the workplace, which might be a result of job dissatisfaction, chronic medical problems, or ongoing personal issues.

Not all habitual cases of non-attendance are classified as absenteeism, however. In fact, most businesses plan, or should plan, for their employees to have a certain number of absent days throughout the year. Your employee attendance policies, however, should clearly define what is considered a valid reason for non-attendance.

Why is it important to measure employee attendance?

As we said, job dissatisfaction is among the major driving factors for a higher than average rate of absenteeism. In result, your business is incurring losses due to missed work hours, lower production levels and/or worsened customer support. A high rate of absenteeism lowers the morale of other workers and employees, which results in even worse business performance.

Annual cost of lost productivity (in billions)

Professionals: $24.2
Managers / Executives: $15.7
Sales: $6.8

Source: Investopedia

Measuring employee attendance is important because of all of the above reasons. Nonetheless, you must have flexible employee attendance policies, especially if your core business is non-manufacturing. There are methods to measure employee performance that are not based solely on the number of work hours while taking into account this indicator as well. Numerous attendance-tracking apps are available on the market with selected software providing advanced options to track and measure employee attendance against different criteria.

How to measure absenteeism?

There are simple and widely used formulae for measuring absenteeism and average absenteeism rate per employee. You can find an example and its detailed explanation here:

A company has 100 employees and is measuring the absenteeism rate per employee over one-year period:

Total number of absent days in the year: 2,000Total number of employees: 1002,000/100 = 20 absent days per employee

Total number of working days: 260 (in one year) per employee.

Absenteeism Rate per Employee = Total number of absent days per employee / Total number of working days x 100%20 / 260 x 100 = 7.69 %.

Office Accesses Heatmap by Kisi

Companies that rely on Kisi for their access control solution have access to all of the unlock events taking place within their workplace (including meeting rooms, other floors, etc.). Kisi's software also comes with a built-in heat map functionality. This makes it easier for HR, office management and C-level executives to recognize patterns among employees hours spent at the workplace in an anonymous way, and this can be an accurate indicator of employees attendance or absenteeism.

Kisi's unlock heatmap

Strategies to manage severe employee absenteeism

First of all, you should have a comprehensive employee attendance policy adopted. Your strategy should cover all of your workers and provide equal terms for measuring their respective absence from work. Nonetheless, a feasible absenteeism strategy will be quite flexible and adaptable to changes in the overall business environment. Your workers and employees will be equally engaged and motivated only when you treat them equally. And fairly.

Allowing flexible work schedules in your workplace can greatly improve your absenteeism rates, for instance. You need to adapt to a new business environment where both workers and white-collar staff expect a more relaxed work schedule. Furthermore, you need a trained manager to deal with absenteeism and encourage your employees to be more engaged with the business, without putting too much pressure on them. If you are unaware of the family matters of your workers, and there will be many of them on a regular basis, the morale among your employees can reach dangerously low levels.

It is quite difficult to manage such issues in a large corporation but you still can have a dedicated manager in charge of such matters. Options to share jobs, flexible work days or hours, as well as possibility to work from home are all viable options when applicable.

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Finally, financial rewards for good performance and low absenteeism rates will work in most cases. Implement am employee attendance policy that rewards workers for a certain number of days with no registered absence for work and provide additional bonuses for good work. To recall, happy workers and employees are less likely to be absent at work.

Written by:

Junel Seet
Digital Marketing at Kisi
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