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Employee no-shows can harm the workplace

Poor management or supervision in the workplace can lead to poor productivity and absenteeism in the workplace, according to industrialist psychologist Paul Loftus.

?If you have a bad manager or supervisor then you are going to have bad morale from the people under this individual and you will see a decrease in productivity,? Mr. Loftus said.

?We can?t compete nationally or internationally unless our employees are at work and it is vital we engage all of our resources to the fullest, not the least of these are our human resources.?

Mr. Loftus arrived in Bermuda this week to present ?Reducing Absenteeism?, a one-day seminar at the Bermuda Employers? Council on Friday.

?More and more people are suffering from stress in the workplace and people are reluctant to say this because the response is going to be, if you can?t take the heat get out of the kitchen.

?So when stress builds up then people will say I need a mental health day or a day off from work.?

?There is a correlation between tardiness, absenteeism and turnover. We often refer to tardiness and absenteeism as protest behaviour and turnover as withdrawal behaviour because you are withdrawing your services from the organisation.?

Mr. Loftus said if employees are absent from the workplace there are two types of rewards ? personal rewards and the organisational rewards.

The personal rewards are that employees can be with their families, friends or lovers, get involved in hobbies or sports, get housework done, go shopping with less people around or do repairs on a house.

He said the organisational rewards are sick pay benefits and avoiding work-related stress.

?There are number of different ways of dealing with absenteeism, my emphasis is to reward attendance rather than punishing absenteeism but obviously it will not work for everyone.?

?Bosses will tell you about your absenteeism but how many bosses will tell your attendance record? That is positive reinforcement but unfortunately an awful lot of that is lacking.?

In examining the causes of absenteeism, Mr. Loftus said there are reasons that are given and the undisclosed reasons.

Common reasons for absenteeism include jury duty, family illness, personal illness, transportation problems, weather problems, weddings, maternity and bereavement, emergency or strikes.

?What I find fascinating about absenteeism are the hidden causes and are difficult to find out because they will not tell their boss. Statistics tell us that of the number of people calling in sick, only 30 percent is this true. They could be embarrassed to tell the reason or there may be hidden causes, things employees don?t want to tell their boss. They maybe unhappy with their working conditions and will absent themselves from work.?

But Mr. Loftus said if problems with working conditions, status, and supervision are resolved, motivation will not be guaranteed but workers if these issues are not resolved workers will protest their unhappiness by not showing for work.

To reduce absenteeism, Mr. Loftus said employee-friendly companies can undertake an attitude survey among employees, provide a fitness programme for employees, a company flu shot, and company-sponsored childcare facilities for example.

Human resource managers, line managers and supervisors with a responsibility for reducing absenteeism are advised to attend this seminar. The cost of ?Reducing Absenteeism? is $330 for BEC members and $385 for non members and the seminar takes place from 8.45 a.m. to 5 p.m.