#Nextchat: The Impact of Workplace Absenteeism


Employee absenteeism remains one of the most common workforce problems in today’s workplace.

Absenteeism problems can range from employees not showing up without notifying their employer to using sick leave for vacation. Some abusers habitually use all of their paid time off every month.

Many workplace absences are covered by federal laws like FMLA and ADA, but, for the nonprotected cases, employers should be swift and consistent with the administration of discipline.

With technology and telecommuting policies allowing employees to work from anywhere, absenteeism is no longer defined as an employee not physically in the workplace, but as an employee who is “AWOL” or absent without login.

Earlier this year, SHRM and Kronos conducted a study of the impact of employee absence on organizations and employees. According to Joyce Maroney, director of Workforce Institute at Kronos, “The holiday season is, of course, particularly hard hit with employee absences. We’ve done research on this topic before, though the emphasis has been largely on the financial impact of absence. This study, like the prior research, underscores the greater impact that unplanned absenteeism has on the bottom line.”

Employee absenteeism can also harm workforce morale. Maroney says that “What we found was that the party affected most by unplanned absences seems to be colleagues, as the study shows that their perceived productivity loss is most affected (29.5% productivity loss for co-workers in the U.S.) Co-workers report feeling more stressed when their colleagues are out, especially when those absences are unplanned.”

Organizations can’t avoid absences, but there are things they can do to lessen the impact, such as establishing a formal attendance policy and giving supervisors the training and support they need to administer it.

How does absenteeism affect your organization and how do you manage it?

Please join SHRM @weknownext at 3 p.m. ET on January 7 for a #Nextchat with special guest Joyce Maroney (@WF_Institute), director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos, and SHRM Researcher Karen Wessels (@SHRM_Research). We’ll chat about the impact of employee absence on the workplace.

Q1.  Does your organization have a formal written attendance policy? If not, how do you manage attendance?

Q2. As an HR professional or supervisor, what aspect of workplace absenteeism gives you the most heartburn?

Q3. What problems do unplanned workplace absences cause for your organization outside of decreased morale?

Q4.  What types of absenteeism and paid/unpaid time off abuse are most common in your organization and industry (ADA, Friday/Monday)? 

Q5. Does your organization offer sick leave donation programs and have you found them to be beneficial or exploited?  

Q6.  What FMLA and ADA absence issues do you struggle with the most?

Q7. Has technology/telecommuting deceased absenteeism rates in your organization?

Q8. What incentives, if any, does your organization offer for excellent attendance? How do you define excellent attendance? 

Q9. What occasions would you nominate for an official U.S. national holiday? (Super Bowl Monday?)

What's a Twitter chat?



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