bsenteeism is the manifestation of a decision by employees not to present themselves at their place of work, at a time when it is planned by the management that they should be in attendance. Employee absenteeism is a global problem facing all companies. Although rates of absenteeism will vary respective of company size, company location, weather, industry type, and level of stress inherent in the job responsibility, the impact of this costly issue effects virtually all businesses. The result of absenteeism is reduced employee productivity, reduced employee morale, and increased overhead costs. The effort on the part of Human Resource Management and the policy level senior managers is required in the effective development of an Attendance Management Programme that to curb the physical absence of employees at work. Major reasons behind this effort are;
- Attendance is the responsibility of the facility management and ultimately the administrators
- Attendance behaviour can be and is linked directly to the culture of the worksite.
- The frequency of leave taking behaviour is high in the present organizational climate.
- Strong trade union as an alternative supporting system to support the employees.
- High socio culture integration behaviour of the employees outside the organization
Since attendance is the responsibility of the administration, this article suggest following efforts that to be initiated at the administrative level to manage the attendance at work.
- An attendance management team should be formed under Human Resource Division to curb the employee's absenteeism. Front line management should be held accountable for attendance management performance. A management structure should be engineered to identify and execute objectives relating to absence prevention, disability management and attendance control. The Attendance Management Team should be given the ability to develop complex case management strategies and aggressively intervene where appropriate. Attendance management team should develop and maintain an attendance management policy in each work site.
- Open communication and information sharing between management and supervisors to be entertained to develop better trust and confidence. Transparency in the interaction and interrelation bring better involvement and commitment on the part of employee at work. Employees are encouraged to voice their concerns so their perceptions of the work place are clear and can be dealt with. Continually provide employees with information regarding the company's performances to budget. To link their participation with overall outcomes and develop ownership.
- Where, industries have trade union organisations, effective participation and representation in the decision-making should be encouraged. Greater the acceptance and involvement opportunity to the trade union leaders feel at work grater the participation they shows toward attendance management effort. The importance of attendance management should be better shared with the union representatives in the long-term existence of the organisation.
- Department get-together or scheduled meetings are better way to interact with employees and employers. The opportunity to interact with each other helps the employer to get aware of the perception and attitude of employees in the many conflicting situations that lead to physical absence in the work schedule. Regularly scheduled department meetings are an excellent way to understand employee grievances and communicate organizational goals. The staff development meetings are important in moulding company ideals with employee needs. Hold regular meetings, keep your staff informed and involved.
- Managers should make use of relationship as strategy to develop group cohesiveness between employees at work. A feeling of informal relationship with coworkers help to understand the problems of them and make possible effective involvement in the problem solving process. This effort enhance the feeling of informal organisation and develop enhance the attendance of employees at work. Know the employees who are working for the organisation; without prying show an interest in their personal lives.
- Involvement of employee is possible only when they feel enlightened by getting greater acceptance and grater importance at work. Develop ways for each and every employee to feel free to contribute ideas and suggestions even though these may be outside the scope of their job responsibilities. Greater the acceptance of their ideas and suggestion greater the members feeling of need for presence at work. Make each employee aware that they are a valued member of the "team", that they play an important role in organization and that their attendance is critical.
- Employee Development is one of the areas that managers in the organisation have to keenly look into. Employees in the organisation are having high expectation in the growth and development within their professional field. Employee development programmes under organisational level training and development programmes to be extended to enhance their skill and contribution at work. Develop a comprehensive and collaborative continuous improvement program throughout the department.
- Employees in the organisation may be coming from rural areas and having poor socio-economic condition. An effort understand their day to day living itself is a positive attitude on the part of management. Under corporate social responsibility programme some of the social development programmes can be incorporated so that poverty, housing, family development, child development, marital counselling etc., like basic needs of the employees can be better met with. It gives better peace of mind to the employees and it helps them to concentrate better at work. Be aware of problems that may effect employee attendance or performance.
- Industrial counselling is an effective area to intervene in to many of the socio-emotional problems of the employees. Marital stress, family stress, personal stress, organisational stress, job stress, career stress etc., are some of the areas in which the human resource managers in the organisation can effectively intervene into through counselling and support. The counselling intervention can better alleviate the problems of the employees and there by improve attendance of employees at work. Discusses with all employees' problems of unjustifiable time off. Started a home safety campaign to be extended to children and family members of employees that to avoid the injuries at home, which in turn affect attendance of employees at work.
- Effective Leave management Programme to be developed that to support the attendance management programme. Under Leave management Programme, bonus for the unused leave should be provided. Indians are enjoying so many holidays. May-June is the season for school admission marriage etc. Specific leave arrangement to be made in those seasons to control the absence at work. Different religious groups festivals and rituals to be accommodated with alternative staff arrangement. Promotion and advancement opportunity for those who not avail of leaves to be encouraged. Strategic decision as "No Leave" to be taken when organisation has to meet the deadlines of the customers and there is acute competition of the product. Greater attention by supervisors and more accountability of operations management and other management is to be entertained to curb sick leave. Attempts to discourage spurious sick leave being taken. Quarterly and annually incentive scheme to be developed to reward those who don't have an absent day.
- Employees should be encouraged to give as much notice as possible for anticipated absences. Absent employees should be requested to keep contact with their employer. The employer should be informed of any changes in the employee's health status. Employees should be called if they are not keeping contact with the employer. The purpose is to show concern and desire for the employee to regain a healthy status and return to work.
- Doctors are giving medical certificates and fitness certificates to employees, by paying lump some amount of money. Such cases to be legally dealt with and doctors to be well campaigned against such malpractices. Since such efforts are deliberate on the part of employees, adequate negative reinforcement measures to be take into account.
- Official warnings as verbal and write to be provided to the absented employees. Formally meet with the employee and explain that income protection is to be used only when an employee is legitimately ill. Advise the employee that his/her attendance record must improve and be maintained at an improved level or further disciplinary action will result. Where there is no improvement a written warning should be issued. Interview the employee again. Show him/her the statistics and point out that there has been no noticeable (or sufficient) improvement. Listen to the employee to see if there is a valid reason and offer any assistance you can. If no satisfactory explanation is given, advise the employee that he/she will be given a written warning. Adequate counselling to be provided in each attempt.
- Tie the successful completion of work objective to the salary review process. Objectives should include a program building component as well as focusing on the bottom line. The attendances management team should closely monitor each department tries to get the statistics of the attendance of each work site or department and find out those who require encouragement in their effort and those who require warning. Adequate authority to be provided to the Attendance Management Team to take action and for effective interventions since their effort is to support the productivity and quantity and quality of production.
The above-mentioned efforts are some of the corrective/progress ive suggestions that help the HR managers to curb the absenteeism at work. The community initiatives and septic schemes are the major intervention in the area of attendance management. Develop trust and confidence on the part of employees at work and support them in their socio-emotional affairs, are the major objective behind attendance management programme. Greater the support members feel at their personal and professional realm greater their readiness to do the work
S.Lakshminaryanan 5th March 2009 From India, Manipal