Every business caters for possible losses. Try as hard as we may, absenteeism can never be fully removed from the equation. Whenever anyone is absent, it might be due to a sickness or personal issue beyond control. For such, companies always have a budget and expect it. However, it becomes problematic when a team or employee develop chronic absenteeism. Alongside with injuries and burnout, or low morale, employee disengagement is a serious form of chronic absenteeism.
The Million Euro Example
According to a recent Dutch study, an absent employee costs 230 euro a day. On average in the Netherlands, an employee is absent for 7 working days a year. That’s roughly 1.610 euro per employee per year. According to a recent Gallup Poll, organizations with highly engaged employees have 37% lower absenteeism. This means that if we take into account an organization with more than 5.000 employees, this organization could safe up to 3.000.000 euro on absenteeism alone (year-on-year).
Doing Away with Absenteeism in the Workplace
Unfortunately, there are no tools or formulas to differentiate between employees who are absent for a valid reason and those who are taking advantage. Thus, the best you can do for your company and a team as a leader is to best understand the workspace and how better to improve.
Activities that engage employees and increase morale are one-way of dealing with the issue head-on. Another way of dealing with absenteeism might be to promote active and healthier life styles for employees. However, every organization has a different setup, and there is no one-size-fits-all type of solution.
Solution: No one-size-fits-all type of solution
We argue that it is worth looking into a bottom-up approach where employees are empowered to present and act on ideas concerning the issues at hand. By collaboratively working towards a better workplace, employees can provide crucial feedback about what works well and what can be improved to reach a higher level of engagement: Unleashing the collective genius.
Whatever the feedback may be, eventually it will become a company culture to promote wellness and full application to work. By tracking the engagement level of each team, the impact of each significant event becomes clear and the organization as a whole can react timely to business outcomes, such as, voluntary turnover, productivity and absenteeism. In the end, highly engaged employees ARE the solution.