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Revealed: A five-step plan to cut your company's absenteeism in half

by , 15 November 2013
Absenteeism is one of the major problems facing South African companies. But this doesn't mean you have to roll over and accept the status quo. Use this five-step plan to deal with absenteeism in your workplace.

Absenteeism is a major problem in South Africa.

Last month, we reported that research found absenteeism is a major reason for South Africa slipping down global competitiveness rankings, with a 500% increase in sick leave since 2001.

But what can you do to ensure your company doesn't suffer?

Use these five steps by 144 Smart Strategies for Managers.

Use these five steps to curb absenteeism in your workplace

Step #1: Educate. Make sure that every employee understands your absenteeism policy. Send out a reminder memo that explains your sick leave policy (when do they need a doctor's certificate, who must they talk to when they call in sick, where the sick leave forms are kept, what happens when an employee uses more than his allocated leave).

Many companies think their employees understand the sick leave process when they don't!

Also make sure your memo includes what will happen when an employee abuses the sick leave policy. This will stop employees from abusing the system or using more leave than they have.

Step #2: Monitor. Don't rely on your employees to keep you up to date on the days they've taken off. Monitor their sick leave yourself.
Keep a daily team attendance list. Observe which employees are late, which are early and which are absent. If they're late or absent (or leave early), ask them for a reason. And keep a record of the reasons.

Step #3: Counsel. If you have a problem with employees, meet with them in private to discuss it. Tell them what you expect and what you observed. Then, keep a record of these meetings.

Step #4: Follow up. If the behaviour occurs again, conduct another private meeting to find out why, then get ready to act. Consult your HR department for guidance on what to do next (disciplinary action).

Step #5: Take corrective action. If your employee's behaviour continues, start the corrective process (verbal warning, written warning, suspension and ultimately termination.) But remember to record each step you take.

'No matter what your company's policy is on employee absenteeism, this five step plan will deal with it in a manner that will keep both you and your employees happy,' says 144 Smart Strategies for Managers.

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