Employee Absence

 Steps to Stop Absence and Make People Happy At Work

absenceIf you’re an employer or manager, then work place absence is costing you money, inconvenience, and upsetting your customers. So we all know, not all days taken off work are due to genuine sickness. Many employees “take a sickie” because their morale is low and they just don’t like or can’t do their work.

The challenge for employers and managers is to make people happier at work. If people are happy at work, they are less likely to take a day off every time they wake up with a stuffy nose.

Some bosses think that paying more money, improving job security, or working conditions is the answer. It isn’t and it’s also something that can be very hard to achieve.

People who employ or supervise other people need to become more tuned into their employees’ emotional needs and find out what really motivates them. This is also much easier to achieve than paying more money or improving job security. However, there is no quick fix.

To reduce the amount of absence, there are three steps you need to consider.

First pick the right person for the job.

You need to get better at interviewing and selecting people.Take more time. During interviews paymotivate more attention to the applicant’s human side rather than his or her qualifications or experience. Get to know this individual better.  Find out what makes him or her happy, how well does he or she get along with other people, and how much energy and enthusiasm does he or she have. Make sure applicants know what they’re getting into and be sure the job suits them.

Secondly, you need to believe in your people.

If you’ve interviewed well and picked the right person for the job, you then need to trust this individual to do that job. You must constantly demonstrate to your people that you trust and believe in them by what you say, your tone of voice, and your body language.

If you believe that your people are not to be trusted, that they’re unable to make a decision without checking with you, that they’ll come in late and go home early… that’s exactly what they’ll do.

If on the other hand you believe that they’ll do their job well, that they can be trusted to make decisions, and they’ll give you a fair day’s work… it is more likely this is what you’ll get.

As with all theories, there is no guarantee that it will work every time. However the majority of employees are reasonable people and if you treat them as such then they are more likely to behave in a positive manner.

Thirdly and probably the most important is to motivate your people by providing feedback and coaching.

coachingThis is where so many employers and managers fall down in dealing with their people; they’re hopeless at giving feedback. Many managers are uncomfortable telling staff how they feel about their work performance.

Most employees want to know how they are performing in their job; they want to know if they are doing it right, or how they could do it better.

If you really want to motivate your people, then you need to provide feedback on what they’re doing well and what needs improvement.

When you notice an employee doing something you like, tell them about it. When you notice something you don’t like, tell them about it.

Do it as soon as possible. Acknowledging a job well done is not much good six months later. Also, if you don’t immediately call someone’s attention to something you’re not happy about, then they’ll assume its okay. Either that or they’ll think you didn’t notice or you don’t care.

Do it in private. Why is it some managers still feel it’s okay to reprimand someone in front of their colleagues? Even the mildest rebuke can have a negative effect on morale.

When speaking with the person use “I” messages. Say things like, “I liked the way you did that,” or “I’m unhappy with the tim it takes to get your completed reports, and I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.”

Avoid “You” messages such as “You’re doing great.” That can come across as patronizing or insincere. “You’re doing that all wrong” may cause conflict, lower morale, and may not solve the problem.

Focus on one or two things. Don’t run off a whole list of attributes or misdemeanors. Also, be specific about job behavior and focus on what the person did or did not do. Do not make a personal attack.

Employees will feel happier if they perceive their employer or manager as a reasonable and fair individual – someone who is quick to praise but also says when they’re not happy about something.

The message is – if you want a motivated staff…make their work interesting, give them feedback, and give them the feeling that they’re involved in the business.

We can make the job more interesting by giving people more responsibility, assigning projects, and by training and developing them. We need to regularly provide feedback on how they’re doing; focusing on what they’re doing well rather than on what is not so good. To meet their need to feel involved, we should regularly communicate both formally and informally. We could also involve staff in meetings they might not normally attend.

These steps will take time and thought. However, they’ll make a huge difference as to how employees feel about their work. If they feel good and gain satisfaction from their work, then they’re less likely to find a reason to “take a sickie”.

Tammy A.S. Kohl is President of Resource Associates Corporation. For over 30 years, RAC has specialized in business and management consulting, strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching, and youth leadership. For more information visit www.resourceassociatescorp.com or contact RAC directly at 800.799.622