Employee Absences: A Huge Business Headache

February 16, 2017 1:56 pm

Speak to any business owner about the biggest issues in their company and nine times out of ten they’ll all include the same thing on their list; employee absences. When an employee is absent, it leaves you short on staff. This means you have fewer people on board to carry out the day’s work, and productivity can suffer.

In this piece, we’ll talk about the different types of employee absences and what you can do to manage them better and make your business suffer less.

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Two Types Of Absence

There are two main categories that all employee absences will fall under; authorised and unauthorised.

Authorised absences are seen as the lesser of two evils. If an employee comes to you beforehand and tells you they’re going to be absent, then you can authorise it for them, and they get time off work.

Unauthorised absences are the worst kind of absence for business. This is where your employees don’t show up for work without telling you beforehand. You get into work one day and find that someone hasn’t shown up. This is the type of absence that causes the most issues for a company.

Dealing With Authorised Absences

Just because an absence is authorised, that doesn’t mean it won’t have a negative effect on your business. There are many right and wrong ways that a company can deal with one of these absences. Do things the right way, and your business will suffer a lot less and be better suited to handle the absences when it occurs. In this mini section, you can see a few tips to help you manage authorised absences better:

Holiday Management

Employee holidays are the most common reason for authorised absences. Everyone needs a break now and then, and your staff are no different. The key is ensuring you manage their holidays as effectively as possible. You make sure they notify you well in advance, which gives you time to prepare. Also, consider something like an employee holiday planner to show you when everyone is going on holiday. This means you can tell your employees when they can or can’t book a holiday because someone else is already going. It prevents multiple people being absent for long spells at the same time.

Set Rules For Notice

The biggest problem businesses have is that they don’t have any clear rules regarding the amount of notice their employees must give. As such, people are booking time off work with just a day or two’s notice. This doesn’t give you much time to get things ready to cope with being an employee down. Set clear rules that state they need to give at least two weeks notice before booking time off.

Absence Action Plans

Finally, you should create action plans to help you cope with authorised absences when they occur. When an employee requests time off, you should set things in motion and come up with a plan to ensure as much of their work gets done before they leave. Try and get them to work ahead so that they don’t miss out on much while they’re away. Also, designate some of their work to the rest of your team while they’re away, ensuring you can be as productive as possible.

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Dealing With Unauthorised Absences

Dealing with an unauthorised absence is much trickier than an authorised one. At least with authorised ones you’re given notice and can do things to plan around an absence. With these absences, you have no idea they occur until you go into work and find that someone hasn’t shown up.

Consequently, you can never truly prepare for an unauthorised absence. Instead, you should focus on preventing them. Below are a few ideas you may want to try out that will discourage employees from taking unauthorised leave:

3 Strike System

You could implement a 3 strike system in your business where people have three chances, and then they’re gone. If they have one unauthorised absence, then that’s strike one. A second one is strike two, with a third being the final straw, and you fire them. If someone has 3 strikes in one year, then they have to go. Strikes can reset each year, but this system keeps people on their toes.

Performance Review

Another idea is to schedule a performance review meeting with anyone that has an unauthorised absence. You meet with them and discuss things, making them understand the severity of the issue. It should scare them into not taking an illegal absence again.

If you learn how to deal with employee absences, then you can help soothe one of the biggest business headaches.

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