The 2020 pandemic and the resulting high absenteeism made the manufacturing sector one of the most affected industries by employee absences in 2021.
But, absenteeism in the manufacturing industry existed long before COVID struck. While the problem isn’t new, it has become more severe.
This has prompted organizations to look for concrete measures to curb the issue.
This article discusses how to reduce absenteeism in the manufacturing industry through proper employee management and engagement.
Top 6 tips to address absenteeism in the manufacturing industry
1. Creating an attendance policy and talking about unplanned absences in it
The manufacturing industry has witnessed a shift in the workforce’s attitude toward the work-life balance. As the employee working habits and the industry is changing post-pandemic, our attendance policies must also be updated to accommodate the change.
The most common reasons for absenteeism in the manufacturing industry are sickness, burnout, injuries, childcare demands, and the search for a different job. While it is impossible to include all the issues in your attendance policy, management has to ensure that the company maintains a fair, consistent, easy-to-understand, and enforceable policy.
Make an attendance policy that complies with state and local labor laws. Also, a point-based attendance policy will clarify how the managers handle such leaves and the consequences of unplanned absences. It provides a tangible way for employees to understand the value of alerting the manager of their absence.
2. Focus on what your employee needs and their wellness
It is not surprising that happy employees are most excited about their work. If your company provides for the workers’ physical and mental well-being, you will have a productive workforce. Improved well-being of employees means fewer sick days, absences, and last-minute schedule changes.
The challenge is reducing absenteeism in the manufacturing industry and ensuring that your needs and requirements are tended for. You must train the line managers, the first contact on health and well-being issues within their team. They are responsible for the day-to-day decisions that affect the workers. Teaching them to be more emphatic, anticipating the employees, and encouraging open communication will help.
3. Incentivize employees with good attendance
Rather than focusing on punishing absentees, organizations should reward good attendance. It is a constructive way to encourage workers to be punctual and sincere with their attendance. There should be a reward program to recognize good work. This will enhance an employee’s sense of ownership and improve their satisfaction.
4. Offer flexible work schedule
Adopting a flexible work schedule can help companies bring down the number of absences. Workers now look for a better work-life balance. When you offer flexible schedules, employees have more time to spend with family and friends.
It nurtures their emotional and mental well-being. Also, a flexible work schedule increases employee retention, reduces stress, boosts output, and improves workplace productivity. Managers should work on shift schedules to allow workers flexibility for personal reasons such as childcare or sickness.
This will reduce unscheduled absences, and employees are more likely to abide by the company’s attendance policy.
5. Engage with your employees
Why is absenteeism happening in the first place? Establish a dialogue with employees who are frequently absent. When you understand their motivations, it is easier to find common ground. But it might be difficult as people often are not comfortable discussing their issues directly.
Therefore, you can use engagement surveys to allow employees to express their concerns or issues. Let them know their information will be kept confidential to start a healthy dialogue with the workers. The best employee engagement strategy is listening to your workers and considering their expectations when making workplace decisions.
6. Keep track of employee absences
No manufacturing company can reduce poor attendance issues without proper attendance management. HR managers need to rein in and strategize how to reduce absenteeism in the manufacturing industry before the problem spirals out of control.
Software tools for employee time and attendance tracking can help managers make decisions based on real-time data. Truein is a hardwareless time and attendance management software that provides extensive oversight and control over time off management.
It tracks employee attendance in real time and has options to set and share attendance policies. Truein is cloud-based and can be deployed directly on workers’ smartphones to record their attendance and track their location during work hours. As a complete attendance management software, it also offers shift scheduling and overtime calculation and is easily integrated with payroll software.
To reduce absenteeism in the manufacturing industry, one must maintain a good workplace culture and schedule flexibility. Software tools like Truein are also essential for reducing employee absenteeism. A manufacturing company should focus on regular worker surveys and ongoing training to engage and encourage employees.