Contemporary businesses view employees as one of the most valuable assets available to them. Many business fields are highly competitive, and turnover, workplace conflicts, lack of motivation, and absenteeism of employees can substantially impact the competitive advantage and sustainability of a venture (Rana and Chopra, 2019). Furthermore, an unhealthy work environment and unengaged employees can adversely affect a company’s overall productivity, innovation, and revenue (Beheshti, 2021).
Therefore, businesses need to promote employee engagement and wellness to increase job satisfaction and organizational performance and reduce turnover and absenteeism. In particular, employee engagement programs can be put in place to achieve company goals and retain valuable personnel. Various staff engagement initiatives are a viable option as they can substantially reduce absenteeism among employees and increase commitment to the company.
Absenteeism can be viewed as a serious problem for any business. Mansinghka and Mohan (2021) define it as prolonged and uninformed absences of employees at work. Failure to come to work can be attributed to either personal or professional factors. The first category can include illness or injury, family-related emergencies, or childcare (Folger, 2021). Meanwhile, the second category incorporates occupational burnout, low morale, workplace bullying, and disengagement (Folger, 2021). Employee overutilization, lack of development opportunities, and inefficient compensation strategies can also contribute to high absenteeism rates in the workplace (Mansinghka and Mohan, 2021).
Personal causes of absences cannot always be addressed by management. Nevertheless, it can be argued that support of employees in difficult personal circumstances can contribute to them being more committed to the company. Meanwhile, most employee engagement initiatives should address workplace-related absenteeism, including issues stemming from harassment, unfair payment, and lack of opportunities for professional growth.
Employee engagement is an essential metric in the modern business world. It can be defined as “the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work” (Developing and sustaining employee engagement, 2021). Engaged employees are enthusiastic and passionate about their work and are willing to contribute to the development and success of their place of work. Considering this definition, it can be stated that an employee engagement program is an initiative aimed at raising staff engagement and commitment to the business. In addition, Le Gallez (2021) notes that such programs should be aligned with factors that facilitate employee engagement, including leadership, enablement, alignment, and development.
Thus, employees should be inspired and encouraged by the company’s leadership, enabled with resources and abilities to complete organizational tasks, and supported in their professional development. Furthermore, their belief in the values and goals of their work should be promoted. Employee engagement initiatives can vary from flexible work hours to individual development programs and training seminars (Le Gallez, 2021). Overall, such initiatives can increase the performance of the company staff and reduce absenteeism among workers.
Staff engagement initiatives can be viewed as a viable solution for workplace absenteeism. According to Lacmanović (2017), business ventures with established employee engagement programs have absenteeism rates of approximately 4% compared to companies without formal engagement procedures introduced, whose absenteeism is rated at 8%. Highly engaged employees are less likely to be absent from work, either with or without authorization from management. Therefore, companies should aim to increase employee engagement to reduce absences from work and improve business-related outcomes for the company and staff.
Although it is a good idea to introduce personnel engagement schemes in the company to promote commitment among employees, it should be noted that they may not always be beneficial. The success of staff engagement initiatives arises from the careful analysis and understanding of the root causes of absenteeism in the workplace. For example, an offer of personal coaching and professional development to an employee who misses work because of overutilization and lack of resources is unlikely to increase engagement and decrease the number of absences. Thus, engagement programs can reduce absences if they address the exact causes of workplace absenteeism.
Employee engagement initiatives can target both personal and professional causes of poor attendance. Beheshti (2021) notes that nearly 90% of employees expect support from employers in managing work and personal responsibilities. Thus, companies should install strategies to assist their workers in managing work-life balance. For example, flexible work schedules, opportunities to work remotely, and well-paid sickness leaves can be introduced to support valuable personnel struggling with personal problems (Beheshti, 2021).
An introduction of onsite childcare can also be viewed as an engagement policy that can prevent absenteeism among workers with young children. These initiatives can foster a sense of gratitude in the employees and promote loyalty to the company, higher engagement, and fewer absences. These measures can be shaped considering the needs of individual employees to cultivate a sense of personal value to the company in the staff and increase engagement.
Professional causes for absenteeism are easier for management to address as workplace-related issues can already be known to the leadership. Karimbil (2019) offers several strategies, including developing an attendance policy, workplace support systems, and opportunities to reduce workplace stress. Such strategies should also focus on the exact cause of employee disengagement and absenteeism. Thus, if numerous employees complain about a lack of professional growth opportunities, management should invest in coaching programs or employee-led teaching schemes (Beheshti, 2021). Further education of staff should also be encouraged, and appropriate support should be offered by leadership.
However, it should be noted that these engagement strategies can be expensive, and not all business ventures can invest in them. Furthermore, although employee engagement initiatives have benefits both for the company and its employees, it is crucial not to introduce several programs simultaneously or introduce programs that are not advantageous for a given workplace. Each program should be evaluated for suitability for a given workplace as the company faces financial losses when investing in inappropriate procedures. In addition, oversaturation of engagement schemes can lead to further disengagement and absenteeism.
In summary, employee engagement strategies are highly beneficial for any workplace as such schemes help promote staff engagement, and commitment to the company and reduce absenteeism. Research shows that companies with established engagement programs have lower absenteeism rates compared to those without such initiatives. Employee absences can vary in nature as some workers miss work due to personal reasons such as accidents, health concerns, family-related issues, or childcare, while others are absent due to workplace-specific factors.
Such causes can include workplace bullying, harassment, lack of professional development opportunities or resources, and overall disengagement with the values, goals, and mission of the company. Business leadership can efficiently address both personal and professional causes of absenteeism. However, it is recommended to carefully tailor engagement programs to the needs of the company and its employees.
Beheshti, N. (2021) 10 timely statistics about the connection between employee engagement and wellness. Forbes. Web.
Developing and sustaining employee engagement (2021). Web.
Folger, J. (2021) The Causes and Costs of Absenteeism. Investopedia. Web.
Lacmanović, S. (2017) “Measuring and managing employee engagement-the path to 2050”, in 8th international scientific conference “Future World by 2050”, pp. 387–410.
Karimbil, M.R., 2019. A study on employee absenteeism in today’s workplace. The Journal of the Gurarat Research Society, 21, pp.273–297.
Le Gallez, K. (2021) 10 employee engagement initiatives used by top companies. Culture Amp. Web
Mansinghka, A. and Mohan, N. (2021) How to reduce absenteeism in the workplace. Saviom Resources Library. Web.
Rana, S. and Chopra, P. (2019) ‘Developing and sustaining employee engagement: The strategic perspective in telecom company’, in Sharma, N., Chaudhary, N. and Singh, V. Management techniques for employee engagement in contemporary organizations. 1st edn. IGI Global, pp. 142–164.