Intervention and Implementation Plan of Absenteeism

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Introduction

Absenteeism is a management problem that results from a regular pattern of employees missing out from work, duties or other forms of obligation. It has been referred to with very different terms in different working environments. Some examples of the terminology used to refer to this vice in the work environment are: Playing hockey, ducking, no-show, French leave, truancy, playing hockey and missing in action among others. It is allowed in some circumstances for employees to miss some days from work if they have viable reasons. Workplace absenteeism becomes a vice when it is done without formal permission. It is a very dangerous act since it has a very high potency of leading to the development of an unproductive culture among the employees. This renders the organization highly susceptible to financial loses in the end. The effect absenteeism has on an organization is higher when experienced in small organizations. To demonstrate this fact, use an example of a small company with just ten employees. If one of them misses a day of work, the whole company loses on 10% of the total work force. This instance, because of its potency, should be tackled from the root cause before it leads to financial collateral damage (Carraher, 2008).

Absenteeism is, in a majority of organizations, a breach of the work agreement made between an employer and an employee. Therefore, absenteeism denotes the presence of poor performance in a working environment because of medical, psychological and social constraints experienced by employees in the work environment (Carraher, 2008). Therefore, it is both a social and financial problem that requires comprehensive financial plans and strategies to reverse, manage and/or mitigate the effects caused by the event. The strategies and plans will form a major part of this plan report.

Background

The success of an organization highly depends on the resilience the employees show as they carry out their casual work activities. The pace at which an organization achieves it goals and missions is highly contingent on the level of commitment shown by the employees. A measure of this commitment is the patterns of work attendance. Employers are very keen on the attendants of employees since it is only when an employee is present in work that they can get direct information on any changes in the work environment and offer their contribution. For example, if the lunch break is being reduced from thirty minutes to fifteen minutes, the employee who is absent might experience culture shock when they resume duty. They also pass on a very crucial change which could have been changed or made more suitable by their contributions or suggestions (Carraher, 2008).

Absenteeism also reduces the direct participation of employee on matters that affect them directly such as the increase of the wages, segmentation of a particular department, promotion or change of the leader of that specific department among others. They also reduce their exposure to direct interaction with the management or the people who oversee them hence creating less social and emotional affiliation with the job; this reduces performance and further increases absenteeism since they normally feel left out or out of place.

Absenteeism of employees has been a huge problem over the years. Boards of Directors and the general management of companies and organizations struggle with the situation of employee absenteeism. They have therefore devoted very many resources geared towards the development of procedures, programs and policies to mitigate this problem. This will eventually provide efficiency in the work environment and improve performance and achievement in such an environment. The studies of the policies that can be used to curb the problem of absenteeism have therefore advanced and more information is available on how to manage the problem. It is this motivation that has resulted in the development of this strategic plan to that, once implemented in a work environment, has the ability to reverse the effects of absenteeism in future.

The Problem

There are some cases where the issue of employee absenteeism has legitimate reasons or causes hence are permitted by the management. With regards to whether they are permitted or not, there are several types of absenteeism that emerge. One of them is scheduled absenteeism which is normally accounted for and takes a maximum of three days. This type of absenteeism is permitted by the management and is earned by the employee so that they can go for vacation and have personal time. The second type of absenteeism is the unscheduled absenteeism which entails sick offs and medical leaves and is also permitted by managements if the relevant evidence and documents are produced. The third and last type is the partial shift absenteeism. It is more of a time management problem than an absenteeism problem since the workers are present in the job but take more time during breaks hence arrive late after the breaks. Leaving earlier than the time set for departure is also a form of partial shift absenteeism (Darr, 2008).

There are several reasons that result to employee absenteeism. For instance, harassment and bullying from colleagues and members of the management board results to the employees faking illnesses to get a break from the harassment (Darr, 2008). Work overload also forms another cause of employee absenteeism since it results to stress and general fatigue hence the employees tend to give themselves breaks to recover. Due to the overworking, the employees also develop lethargy since they do not feel appreciated; they therefore lack motivation and avoid work. Employees, especially women are required to give attention to their children and families in instances like illness of the children. This is allowed by the management and they are not penalized since it understood. The employee should, however, provide relevant evidence to back the situation up. Some employees also skip working days as a result of depression from personal events or the events within the work environment. Illnesses and injuries may also form work activities also from another cause of employee absenteeism. In some cases, the employees duck work days to hunt for other jobs in false pretense of being sick or injured (Darr, 2008).

Purpose

The main purpose of this document is to outline a means through which the effects of employee absenteeism can be managed, reduced and/or mitigated. It therefore takes the role of an intervention plan and outlines how the intervention methods can be implemented. It will also give a breakdown of the financial resources required to actualize the plan in consequent parts of the document.

Implementation of policies and measure that can be used will also be outlined in this document. Some of the suggested methods that can be used to manage the absenteeism of the employees include offering a gym facility within the work environment. By doing this, the management shows its concern to the employees’ welfare since casual physical exercises has more health benefits than normal tea and coffee breaks. The document also outlines the benefits that come along with management boards allowing employees to take breaks when they fall sick. The employees will not get scared of the management thus promoting the interaction between the employees and the management. Moreover, this will reduce the effects that can result from the employee’s illness like rampant spread of the disease if it is communicable. The employees will not report to work when they are sick which will not make sense since they will underperform; they will not be scared of informing the management of their illness. Organizations can also employ professional counselors or psychiatrists to give the employees direct guidance on emotional health and promote the growth of the relationship between management and the employees (Schaufeli, 2009).

Significance of problem or concern

The problem of employee absenteeism is faced by all organizations and business across the globe. It is a major challenge to governments, businesses, organizations and even institutions. Therefore it forms a very significant concern about the productivity of an organization hence needs to be mitigated. Employee absenteeism results to financial losses in organizations. According to reports by the U.S Department of Labor, companies jointly lost financial loses as a result of absenteeism that summed up to a total of 2.8 million working days. This resulted to financial losses since the employees who did not report to work still had to be paid.

In worse cases, the employees had to be replaced if the behavior continued over a long period. Before the employees were replaced, the existing workers had to work overtime. This resulted to more absenteeism because of fatigue and gave the management an extra burden of paying for overtime. Moreover, when the labor force is not big enough to fill the gaps left by the absentees, the management had to hire temporary workers who were not planned for hence creating an extra expense and burden on the annual budget of the company. The issue became very rampant hence, the management had to devote some financial resources to manage the problem (Schaufeli, 2009).

The effects of the employee absenteeism were not only felt by the management and the employees, but also the clients. This was because of consequent deterioration of the quality of services or goods offered by the company due to the rampant understaffing. Understaffing also generated a lot of fatigue to the employees. Some of the temporary employees were hired randomly and urgently hence, insufficient time was allocated to intense vetting. This created a compromised work environment in terms of safety since some of the employees lacked optimum qualifications but were still hired to cover the gaps urgently.

Analysis

When analyzed keenly, employee absenteeism has lot of effects on a company. The continued absenteeism by employees has long-term effects that may affect the company both directly and indirectly. A study done in 2005 by a workforce solution company known as Circadian showed that company incurs a cost of up to $ 3,600 per year for hourly employees and $ 2,650 per year for salaried employees. These costs are attributed to both direct and indirect causes.

The direct costs incurred include salaries and wages that the company pays to the employees. The employees earn salaries and wages that they have not worked for, or earned rightfully. This continued salary and wage expense reflected by the company on its income statement over a long time accumulates to large figures that the company suffers directly as a result of handling payments with no work done to merit the payments (Cascio 2010).

The notorious workers who are continually absent from the workplace add an additional direct cost to the company. The company incurs replacement costs that include cost of advertising for job vacancies, cost of human resource management's time, paying the interviewing committee for the extra work of conducting interviews, and cost of training these new employees on the company specifications and daily business (Mathis & Jackson 2009).

In addition due to employee absenteeism, the company incurs an additional cost of remunerating the employees who take up the work that was supposed to be completed by the notoriously absent employees (Cascio 2010). This cost is directed to overtime paid to the new employees who take up these projects in order to finish on time and beat any pending deadlines. In addition, the company may require hiring of temporary workers to breach the gap created by less workmanship.

The indirect costs that a company incurs due to employee absenteeism have minimal effects on the company in the short term but have future effects on the company over a period of time. These indirect effects include poor quality of products (Cascio 2010). Continued absenteeism leads to understaffing as the management loses the notorious employees and seeks to replace them. During these periods of seeking, the company remains understaffed and the quality of the services and the products produced generally deteriorates due to reduced man power and resultant lesser working hours. In addition, the lowering of the quality of the products and services may be attributed to fatigue and stress levels of the employees due to fatigue as these employees work extra hours to compensate the work that could have been completed by the absent employees. In addition, the quality of the products may be compromised as a result of the company hiring new personnel who come in with minimal experience and require time to come to speed with the company’s ways of operations. During these periods, the general output of these new employees is lower as compared to that of the previous employees who have been replaced.

Strategic plan

To resolve the issue of absenteeism tactfully, a comprehensive plan has been outlined below that will tackle the issue well since it covers a wide array of spheres including personal and cognitive, economic and social influence that an individual encounters. These influences account greatly to employee attendance or absenteeism from work and when addressed well by a company, the issue of absenteeism will be a thing of the past.

Improved Healthcare and Wellness

According to statistics by the US Department of Health and Human Services, 59% of the people employed do not exercise adequately, 50% and more have high cholesterol levels, 26% are overweight and 24% have a high blood pressure. These health effects may cause absenteeism of an employee to work as they affect the general health of an employee and majority of the employees cannot work unless they are of sound health.

Solutions

Companies should set up health facilities such as a gym, basketball or tennis court. These physical fitness centers will overtime improve the living styles and subsequently the general heath of the employees. Employees are also encouraged to stay at home when they get sick to avoid the spread of germs and viruses to other healthy employees. This will ensure that the sickness of employees is contained and managed.It is a modern norm that companies should have a counselor or a therapist (Mathis & Jackson 2009). Such company counselors will ensure the emotional wellness of the employees as they encourage openness between the employees and the management.

Reward results and not attendance

Companies should adopt a system of rewarding the employees for their efforts rather than their appearance at the workplace. Over time, this practice instills a culture of responsibility in the employees as they view their responsibilities at work differently. Koster (2013) stipulates that companies are required to adopt a “result only” strategy where employees are not restricted but rather work freely and independently provided they complete the work on time and deliver good result.

The plan under this is to ensure the management hires employees based on their abilities and not on their availability. A good foundation is required to ensure employees get a grasp of their requirement from the word go. By this, the company should outline clearly on the terms of contract that the company’s policy is to reward results and not the attendance of the employees.

To ensure good performance from the employ, the company should come up with schedules that will ensure the employees have a preliminary forecast of the workload and what is expected of them (Mathis & Jackson 2009). This will ensure that the employees plan their time well and deliver good results. In addition, the timelines ensures that there are consequences for employees who do not meet the deadlines or deliver on the required content.

Lastly, a company should introduce a performance review plan that audits the performance of the employees on the various projects (Mathis & Jackson 2009). This rating will ensure overall performance is improved as employees will always strive to better their ratings.

Policy formulation

Proper policies should be adopted by the company that control absenteeism. In the policy, the employer is obligated by law to have provisions for their employees, for instance a mandatory sick leave in health cases of the employees (Mathis & Jackson 2009). This policy will ensure that every employ receives a specific number of days that they can use when sick.

In addition, the policy formed by the company should address the disciplinary measures that are to be enforced on an employee who skips work without legitimate reasons. The policy should also address the termination process of an employee in case of a chronic. These policies reduce employee absenteeism since the employees have paid off sick days in case they fall sick. They will also be aware of the consequences they may face in case they are absent from work without valid reasons. This will ensure that employees attend to their workplaces faithfully.

Incentives for employees

To ensure that all employees comply with the non-absenteeism policy and campaign, the company should introduce incentives of reward to the employees. For instance, the employees who comply with it should be granted an additional hour on their lunch break for a day in the month.

Financial incentives should also be given to employees who are loyal to the company policy. An example is giving the employees a gift card, coupon or voucher that they may redeem or product discounts from the company’s inventory where the employees can buy certain products at discounted prices as a result of their compliance.

There should be recognition and commendation of the employees who attend to work loyally and keep time especially during breaks such as tea and lunch breaks. The recognition and commendation should be done during meetings and award functions (Mathis & Jackson 2009). This ensures that the employees feel valued in the company as their efforts are being recognized and so they will strive to be more productive.

Other factors that need to be addressed include addressing the issues of drugs and substance abuse. Employees should be encouraged to refrain from drugs. The management style should also be accommodating ensuring employees are recognized and rewarded for their efforts, employees are free to air their views and an open door policy between the management and employees; where the management is approachable.

Plan of action for implementing a solution

To implement the above strategies, an action plan is required that adopts all the amendments, recommendations and solutions while factoring in a financial cost to ensure the company incurs reasonable costs in implementing the plan of action. These include conducting staff trainings to ensure that all members of staff manage their time well. The staff training cost was an overtime payment of $15 for the 100 employees while in training for the 4 hours. Catering for the lunch of employees to ensure that they save time. The training occurred during lunch hour and an hour was saved during this training. This saved the company $1500 in wage expense less the cost of catering for the lunch.

Incentive program is paid monthly by a $50 gift card to Wall-Mart for all employees who have perfect attendance. The use of sick days, vacation, and personal leave prevents "perfect attendance." The assumption is that 30% of employees will fit this criterion.

Drug use has also led to absenteeism and a random screening policy is going to be implemented to "weed out" those who use illicit drugs and cost the company money through position backfill and additional overtime. 20% of the employees will be selected at random on a monthly basis at a cost of $5 per test. Those tested who are initially positive must be validated by a more expensive test. It will be implied that 5% of staff will test positive and require additional costly testing at $50 in a laboratory.

Employees who comply with the absenteeism policy will be granted the option of an additional hour of lunch for one day during the month. The cost of this will be equalized by staff covering that hour who will be under the 40 hour threshold. Essentially, the potential cost of this incentive will be offset given the labor pool stays healthy.

Enforcing absenteeism policies will cost in hiring costs. An implied number of fired employees for a month will be 5 due to the absenteeism enforcement. With the job posting expense on career builder at roughly $400, this equates to a job posting expense of $2,000.

Conclusion

Management of absenteeism by a company reduces the subsequent negative effects that absenteeism has on a company. The most effective way of doing so is through first identifying the rates, patterns and causative agents of absenteeism in a company. The company then comes up with solutions and ways of tackling the problem. After management of the situation, the company enjoys much benefit such as minimized business disruptions, reduction in operating expenses, reduced compliance risk and overall productivity in the company as employees are dedicated to providing quality output. It is therefore pertinent that the company adopts an efficient work plan to manage employee absenteeism and subsequently ensure minimal or no absenteeism from the employees at all.

References

Carraher, S. M., & Buckley, M. R. (2008). Attitudes towards benefits and behavioral intentions and their relationship to absenteeism, performance, and turnover among nurses. Proceedings of the Academy of Health Care Management, 5(2), 193.

Cascio, W. F. (2010). Investing in people [electronic resource]. FT Press.

Circadian. (2005). Absenteeism: The bottom line killer. Retrieved from: http://www.workforceinstitute.org/wp-content/themes/revolution/docs/Absenteeism-Bottom-Line.pdf

Darr, W., & Johns, G. (2008). Work strain, health, and absenteeism: A meta-analysis. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 13(4), 293.

Mathis, R. L., & Jackson, J. H. (2009). Human resource management essential perspectives.Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Schaufeli, W. B., Bakker, A. B., & Van Rhenen, W. (2009). How changes in job demands and resources predict burnout, work engagement, and sickness absenteeism. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 30(7), 893–917.