One in three British workers admit to pulling a “sickie” from work, costing businesses a staggering £9billion a year, according to recent research carried out by PwC.
In fact, according to the same survey, UK workers take nearly triple the amount of sick days as workers in Asian Pacific countries, who on average take 2.8 days, and nearly double the amount of sick days as workers in the US, who on average take 3.8 days.
So why such high absentee figures here in the UK?
There are various factors involved; from employee’s work lacking meaning, stress issues, Monday morning blues, even down to when there is a major sporting event taking place.
However by looking deeper and exploring causes of absence an employer may well be able to build a strategy to engage the workforce, thus reducing such absences. If this fails, then having a robust procedure to deal with this type of absence is vital as it has been proven that recurring short term absence can be a trigger for long term absences.
An effective engagement strategy can help overcome absenteeism by energising your workforce and uniting your business.
Understand engagement levels
When was the last time you launched an employee survey?
This is the easiest and most effective way to ascertain engagement levels. Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions. And let the responses be anonymous, so employees feel they can be completely honest without any backlash.
Be proactive. Ask for suggestions, direct from the source, as to what they (the employee) would implement in order to increase engagement.
Then take action.
As a business you gain nothing, if nothing changes. Your workforce will lose moral, resulting in more absenteeism, resulting in a poor work environment, resulting in poor work production, resulting in potential company loses.
Your priority is to listen and your aim is to drive up engagement levels for the mutual benefit of both the business and the workforce.
Clear career paths
Do you set out a clear and obtainable career path?
Every employee needs motivation. A goal. Visualising what the next step could be for each worker is a simple way to encourage engagement, productivity and ambition.
Do you give your workforce a portal for open communication?
Developing an open communication policy empowers your workforce, makes them feel valued and increases loyalty. And importantly, your leadership team will hear all that its workforce has to say – both good and bad – to proactively take steps to mitigate problems before it’s too late.
Supportive leadership team
How much support is available for your workforce?
When employees feel supported by their team – both immediate and leadership teams – they trust that they’ll be listened to. This ultimately creates a higher sense of responsibility – to themselves, to their team and to the company as a whole.
Empower line managers
Are your line managers empowered to make informed decisions?
Line managers, if given the power, are ideally situated to oversee problems before they arise. They are in the unique position of working directly with employees, so have the potential to influence staff behaviour through encouragement and motivation.
Delegation, trust and value are key factors when it comes to team morale and job satisfaction.
Share company vision
How well do your workforce know the direction the company is taking, and why?
When employees are left out of the larger company vision, they stop feeling valued. They lose respect for the business and ultimately lose interest in their role within it.
Sharing and being transparent with the company vision, and importantly asking for input from the workforce, gains trust and brings the business together, all striving towards the same goal.