Did you know that sickness and absenteeism costs the UK economy £29bn (approx. $45bn) every single year, and it costs the US economy $576bn in the same time period?
These numbers are staggering; not only because of the huge costs involved, but also in the divide between the two countries. Despite the US being under five times larger than the UK in terms of population, absenteeism costs the US economy almost thirteen times more than the UK.
We’ve looked at ways that both countries – and all other countries around the world – can reduce the amount of unplanned absences that members of staff have.
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A massive 87% of workers worldwide said they were either ‘not engaged’ with their job or are ‘actively disengaged’ with their job, showing a huge portion of staff members are unhappy throughout the globe. Unhappy employees take 15 days off sick every year on average – that’s 1.25 days a month – both through increased likelihood of being unwell and through a lack of motivation or commitment. The figure for happy workers stands at just a third of this number.
How to Reduce Absenteeism
Write an Attendance Policy
Define what constitutes excessive lateness or absenteeism and have your staff agree to this when they sign their employment contracts.
Set Clear Attendance Expectations
Make clear what an acceptable amount of absenteeism is and grade each staff member’s attendance during yearly appraisals.
Reward Good Attendance
Shouting at or punishing people for low attendance can often lead to even greater absenteeism – a better trick is to reward those with good attendance.
Offer Good Holiday Entitlement
Offering a good amount of paid annual leave can help to significantly reduce the amount of days people take off sick. Workers in the UK get almost two weeks more paid annual leave than their US counterparts every year. As a result, this helps to keep the cost of UK absenteeism at $1500 per person, compared to $4800 per person in the US.
Provide Employee Support
If you know a member of staff is going through a hard time, give them a chance to talk things through in an informal private discussion. Helping people out with support and advice can raise morale significantly.
Refrain from adopting a ‘blame’ culture and from speaking down to people. Demotivated staff is one of the leading contributors to absenteeism.
Improve the Working Environment
Making the workplace more enjoyable will significantly reduce the chances of people taking the day off sick when they don’t really need it. Major investments aren’t needed for this; even a water cooler or a lick of paint can greatly improve employee satisfaction.
Carefully Match People to Jobs
Attempting to mould someone to a role is great and is often a lot cheaper than getting someone with proven experience, but chances are that they’re more likely to lose interest over time and become demotivated, again leading to increased absenteeism.
Complete Back-to-Work Interviews
The thought of these is enough to make anyone think twice about pulling a sicky!
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