10 Dec Your EAP Program; Combating Absenteeism; and Increasing Productivity
With any team of employees, absenteeism is something you try to avoid. Of course, there are times when your team will miss work due to emergencies, sickness, and family situations, etc. It is unrealistic to expect perfect attendance from your staff, because everyone misses work at some point in the year. This article is for you, whether you are having issues with employees missing a lot of work or you simply want to learn more.
How do you combat absenteeism and increase your employees’ productivity at work? Keeping everyone motivated and inspired at work plays a big role in their engagement and performance. First, we want to give you more information about absenteeism in the workplace and how it affects productivity. Next, we will highlight the benefits of an EAP program like ours and how it could help with this issue and keep your employees on their “A” game.
“2.8% of the workforce is absent on regular work days“
Absenteeism in the Workplace
The difference between an excused work day and an absentee day is that an absentee day is unexpected, while an excused absence is known beforehand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, 2.8% of the workforce is absent on regular work days. Thus, Employee absenteeism is a significant problem for many employers today. The costs of absenteeism to a business are often misunderstood. The most prominent costs include a decrease in productivity, and increased spending by the business to accommodate for the absenteeism. In addition, employees often fail to track their absences. Set up a proficient system for your employees’ attendance so that this can be avoided.
While some absences are unavoidable, it is important to work with your management team on a concrete plan to ensure that your team is ready for any and all kinds of absences. Finally, excessive absences can also be a sign that an employee is having more serious issues. Be sure to take this into consideration, and if you suspect something, contact your EAP program for a Management Consultation.
Question: I intended to give my employee a disciplinary action for chronic absenteeism. He’s been gone several days. When he showed up, he said he had just come from the EAP, where he signed a release. I feel a bit manipulated. Should I hold off on discipline or follow through?*
Answer: It is a positive development that your employee decided to participate in the EAP, but whether to dispense a disciplinary action is a decision to be considered in consultation with your management advisors. The planned disciplinary action may have motivated the worker to act. Do you feel the disciplinary action is no longer fitting? Do you fear it will now undermine motivation to participate in the EAP? Should you base your decision on what’s best for the organization? Is the message a disciplinary action sends the critical thing? Every organization answers these questions differently. This situation is not uncommon, and it illustrates both the success and the influence of the EAP dynamic in organizations to attract, perhaps at the last moment, the most troubled workers. Sometimes, this is what an EAP success story looks like.*
Reasons for Absenteeism and the Effect on Productivity
Some of the most common reasons for absenteeism in the workplace are illness, burnout, childcare issues, family situations, and tardiness. Another major reason for work absences is related to mental illness. This is very common, especially today, and deserves to be handled carefully and properly. Mental illness has a tremendous effect on how much work someone can handle and how productive they are. It’s important to know when employees may be dealing with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, or grief, and to refer them to the EAP for assistance. These situations are one of the many reasons why an EAP program is so helpful to have!
Whether the above reasons are the specific ones affecting your workplace or not, all absences have an impact on the effectiveness of your workplace and team. Keeping productivity high when a major role is missing can be a challenge, and that is why cross-training is so important. Cross-training, budgeting for absences, and a plan for when absences do happen all help retain team focus when someone does miss work. Moreover, recognizing employees who are committed to your business and have great attendance can lead to greater morale and engagement, thus leading to improved attendance. Employees who have great attendance deserve to be rewarded and encouraged. One last tip is to have a designated HR person who handles all absences, the budget for it, and a thought out plan to keep productivity going all year.
Question: I may be old school in my thinking, but I think an employee’s mental health is none of the employer’s business. Still, I see a lot of articles in recent years about mental wellness in the workplace. What is the business case for giving so much attention to this subject? What can one supervisor do?*
Answer: Employers pay high costs for mental health problems. On the low side, it’s about $70 billion a year. Absenteeism, reduced productivity, and increased health care are the three big cost areas. If employers can influence mental wellness in ways that reduce these exposures, they can improve productivity and have a healthier bottom line. So mental wellness is not about intrusiveness into employees’ lives but about creating work environments that have a positive impact on wellness. As a supervisor, you have a significant influence on promoting mental wellness. Here are three examples: (1) Don’t praise the employee who comes in early and stays late. This practice eventually erodes productivity and leads to burnout. (2) Encourage or insist that employees take regular vacations to recharge and refresh. (3) Don’t expect employees to answer the phone, email, or engage in work around the clock. (4) Be a model for these behaviors yourself.*
Benefits of Our EAP program to Help with Absenteeism
If one of the reasons your employees are continually absent is due to mental health issues, we at Care Plus Solutions have an outstanding counseling program included in our EAP program. Your employees will be able to have 24/7 access to EAP Counselors that can help them to work through any mental issue they are facing. Learn more here. We also offer work-life solutions that help with referrals for childcare, eldercare services, work-life webinars, financial help, and more. We have resources that can help lessen absentee rates and improve your team’s productivity. Learn more about our work-life solutions here. We hope this blog has given you some pointers on how to improve your team’s attendance and inspire employees to maintain productivity even when some team members are missing.
Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.
* Copyright ©2019 by DFA Publishing & Consulting, LLC.