If there’s one crucial element to good HR it’s managing absenteeism. The law regarding work absences is constantly evolving, and it’s becoming harder and harder for business owners to stay on top of every last regulation. Aside from operating within the law, it’s also very important that you can control the impact of employee absences. If you’re finding the whole subject a little hard to keep up with, here’s a guide to managing the impact of absences within your business.
First and foremost, make sure you’re communicating often enough. There have been many HR studies showing that communication practices within a business have a direct impact on its absence rate. Where most employees felt they were included in day-to-day communication, the absence rates were below the national average. Think about the current culture at your business, and any way you can make communication a little more open and inclusive. Whenever there’s going to be a change in policy that’s going to affect your employees, make sure that everyone’s kept in the loop. This kind of clear and constant communication has the potential to reduce absences. Keeping up habits of open communication will reassure your employees, and prevent people from resenting the company they work for.
Your next step should be improving the way that you track your employee’s leave. If you fail to monitor and track your employee’s leave accurately, you may run headlong into some serious productivity and cash flow issues. In some cases, you can also expose your business to damaging claims made by your employees. For example, if you don’t calculate statutory sick pay correctly, you could end up with a massive deficit or withholding money which your employees are entitled to. If you hire a lot of people on a part-time or variable-schedule basis, then this point should be especially important to you. Talk to your HR guys and look through any mistakes which have come up in the past, and try to nail down the root cause. If you’re struggling with your good old excel spreadsheet, consider buying some more advanced HR software or outsourcing the whole task.
Finally, make sure you’re educating managers. It’s easy enough to see the impact of absenteeism and what you can do to control it. However, if your upper management isn’t on board, you’ll only run into the same issues again and again. After every change in policy, have a meeting with all your frontline managers and talk them through it. You should also be keeping tabs on the various employment laws which relate to when a customer is entitled to leave. Make sure your managers are well-versed in these, and get the memo whenever there’s a change in them. Full training sessions aren’t usually necessary, but can be handy after a complete overhaul. When dealing with leave, your managers need to be applying rules and nuances with accuracy and consistency.
I hope this post has been of some help to you. Dealing with HR matters isn’t always easy, but managing absences is essential.