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Employee Absenteeism

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What is employee absenteeism?

When an employee does not show up to work without just cause, that is employee absenteeism. Employee absenteeism is not the occasional missed day or no-show, but frequent absences, tardiness, and leaving when clocked.

Why should you pay attention to employee absenteeism?

Employee absenteeism is an indicator of low employee engagement and a predictor of involuntary turnover. In order to track employee absenteeism, consider using an employee scheduling software like Hyre to forecast employee retention and the quality of shift work being done.

What are the causes of employee absenteeism?

There are many reasons an employee may be disengaged in a workplace. An employee may be burnt out from tight timelines and heavy workloads. They may be dealing with harassment at work or in their personal life. Team members that are caregivers of aging parents, children, or family members dealing with illness may be preoccupied with that responsibility. Some causes of employee absenteeism are unrelated to the workplace, while others directly correlate. Low team morale, disorganization and poor communication increases employee absenteeism.

Examples of employee absenteeism:

Scenario 1: Sally is a senior manager at PotPourri Emporium who is known for her strong communication skills. Every project she oversees has impressive outcomes. Recently, she has been coming to work late and is sometimes missing during critical meetings. This behaviour is uncharacteristic of her. Her colleagues are concerned and speak to her about this. Sally shares that her mother recently got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes she wanders out of the house during the day and gets lost. Sally’s neighbours call her whenever that happens. Without other close family members nearby, Sally needs to take care of her mother who is fiercely independent and does not want a personal support worker.

Reason for absenteeism: Caregiving needs due to illness in the family
Potential solutions: Caregiving leave or flexible scheduling

Scenario 2: Marianna is a nurse at St. Patrick Hospital who is hardworking, friendly, and very popular with the patients. However, one of her patients, Charles, has been returning to the hospital even after his recovery. He tells her he misses her and wants to spend time with her. Her co-workers think it’s cute and tease her about it, but Marianna does not like the attention. She has brought it up to her manager, who is a relative to Charles and merely gives him a warning. Charles continues to return, and Marianna hides whenever he’s near. She does not feel comfortable with him following her and sometimes she leaves the hospital during work if he is around.

Reason for absenteeism: Harassment
Potential solutions: The manager needs to take harassment seriously and security measures must be put in place

Scenario 3: Liam is a fry cook at Sushi Fries and he has been assigned back-to-back closing and opening shifts. He shows up on time for his evening closing shifts but he is buddy punching for his morning opening shifts. Sushi Fries closes at 1 am but he stays to clean up until 1:30 am or later. He lives half an hour away so the earliest he gets home is 2 am. The next day, he is scheduled to get to work at 7 am to open the kitchen so they can prepare breakfast delivery orders. That means he has to wake up at 6:30 am latest to get to work on time. Liam relies on his co-worker Hailey to sign him in the next morning because he is often 20-30 minutes late.

Reason for absenteeism: Burnout due to back-to-back shifts
Potential solutions: Better scheduling practices that allow for work-life balance. Employee scheduling software will help.

Scenario 4: Mariah just started working at Operahouse as a greeter. Her shift starts at 7 pm, 30 minutes before doors open for guests in case there is extra setup needed. She notices some senior co-workers only show up 10 to 15 minutes before doors. Her manager is rarely there on time either, and everyone just signs their clock-in time as 7 pm. After a few weeks, Mariah begins showing up to work at 7:15 pm. Nobody seems to notice or care.

Reason for absenteeism: Team culture and lack of feedback
Potential solutions: Manager setting clearing expectations or using a digital time clock

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