By Simon Birchall, Managing Director of timeware (UK)

Low employee attendance is an everyday issue for many business owners and can create both financial and cultural problems for a company. It can be difficult for owners and HR professionals to know the best way to address and solve the problem of absenteeism, particularly when it comes to the reasons behind why people are taking time off work. Below are six tips to consider when attempting to tackle the issue of poor employee attendance in the workplace:

Comprehensive training

Make sure you train your managers and HR professionals so that they know how to employ effective management systems throughout the company. They need to be able to acknowledge when an employee is unhappy and deal with the problem accordingly. Employees want to know that they are being treated fairly and that someone is looking after their best interests. Attempting to solve an employee’s problem in the early stages will help problems from escalating any further.

Be understanding

Try to understand why an employee is having time of work and whether the problem is widespread or just lies with one individual. People face difficulties on a daily basis that aren’t necessarily to do with work. Before pointing the figure make sure you understand the reasons behind an employee’s low attendance. Nowadays, illnesses such as mental health and stress are big contributors to absenteeism, but are not always made apparent to an employer. Make sure you take into consideration all possibilities as to why an individual is having time off.

Evaluate your culture.

Getting your business culture right can be difficult, particularly when so many people have different opinions on working life. Making everyone happy all the time is impossible. However, trying to get the balance right will prove to your employees that you’re serious about their welfare and want them to enjoy coming to work and being a part of the team. Developing a mission statement and company values for your business will make sure everyone is on the same path and help to create a unified working environment.

Offer incentives

To encourage good attendance and performance at work many businesses offer incentives to their employees. Offering extra holidays or a one-off bonus for exceptional attendance records can really motivate staff members and help with their engagement. Your HR managers can help set up these kind of rewards.

Communication is key

When it comes to your employee’s welfare good communication is essential. Make sure they know you care about their happiness and that you appreciate their commitment to the business. People spend most of their waking hours at work so they want to know that their company values their time and dedication.

Be organised

Employees want to know they are being treated fairly and in the same way as their colleagues. It’s important to implement effective procedures in the workplace, making sure that all employees are treated the same and have equal rights at work. It’s up to you, your managers and HR department to put these practises in place and make sure you uphold them.

Invest in technology

Investing in workforce management systems that can track an employee’s attendance will really help monitor absenteeism in the workplace. Such systems track when an employee is at work and for how long, days they have off sick, any lateness and even holiday entitlements. If employees know there is a steadfast procedure in place and that everyone is monitored in the same way, they are much more likely to stay focused and motivated at work. In addition, these systems help to accurately identify any employee issues and allow you to deal with them quickly and effectively.

Absenteeism in the workplace can be a difficult issue to manage with many businesses not realising the long-term effects it can have on a company. Business owners, managers and HR professionals can attempt to solve the problem with a combination of effective management systems, widespread communication, incentives and a focus on business culture and employee engagement. This in turn will help create a happy and healthy working environment for you and your employees.