HR Management & Compliance, Talent

Mitigating the Effects of Absenteeism

In a previous post, we discussed the findings of the second installment of Kronos’ Global Retail Absence survey, which analyzed responses from 800 retail managers across Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.Absenteeism
As we discussed in that post, unplanned absenteeism creates a vicious cycle in which unplanned absences in the workplace—specifically in the retail context—leads to poor employee engagement throughout the organization, thus leading to more unplanned absenteeism.
While it may be simple for a manager to throw up his or her hands and declare that he or she can’t prevent employees from not showing up for their shift or even the impacts such behavior has on the rest of the staff, the fact is that managers can mitigate the impacts of absenteeism. Here are a few strategies.

Enforce Accountability

It may be hard to find decent employees in some retail settings. But managers need to make it clear that unplanned absenteeism is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Termination absolutely needs to be on the table, even if it comes after multiple rounds of escalation, and consequences need to be handled consistently every time.

Maintain an On-Call List

Being on-call isn’t fun because even though an employee isn’t at work, he or she knows he or she could be brought in at any time, meaning free time isn’t really free. But having staff on standby mitigates the impact of being shorthanded if someone doesn’t show up for a planned shift.

Create Incentives for Filling In

One way to mitigate the distaste of being on-call is to create incentives around it. Offer employees some form of compensation just for being on call, whether or not they get called in. Alternatively (or in addition), give them a bonus if they are called in and it’s not their scheduled day.
Nobody wants to deal with staff members who don’t show up for work and leave the rest of the staff scrambling to cover. But managers aren’t completely helpless. The strategies above can help them reclaim their control of the situation and their employees’ morale and engagement.