What are different, creative ways to motivate your employees to do better...

What are different, creative ways to motivate your employees to do better and at the same time curb absenteeism?

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One of the greatest motivators is a feeling of being valued. When an employee believes that they are valued by her employer, the employee values the employer in return. Additionally, you may want to find ways to incorporate these 13 tips for employee loyalty into your management practices.

1. Set a good example.

Show your employees that you take work seriously. If you are out shopping or busy making plans for the weekend, your employees will follow suit.

2. Create clear boundaries.

Your employees can have many friends, but only one employer. Yes, you want to be friendly but not at the cost of establishing your unique role and position. Most employees will be delighted to have a boss that can be depended upon to make difficult decisions, call the shots and resolve awkward or burdensome problems – tasks they would never present to a friend or co-worker.

3. Outline each employee’s sphere of influence.

Each staff member should be clear about where his/her own domain starts and stops. This kind of definition fosters a sense of pride while preventing boundary overstepping and turf wars between employees.

4. Show your employees that you are loyal to them.

Never belittle or criticise an employee in public. Avoid threats or any action that might give an employee a reason to question your commitment to him/her. Instead, carefully present your criticisms and see “mistakes” as opportunities for learning.

5. Give your employees something to be proud of.

Strive to make your organisation the best it can be. Whether you are the CEO of a large corporation, a supervisor in a governmental organisation, or running a mom-and-pop shop, you want your product and service to shine so that everyone involved has a sense of pride and accomplishment.

6. Do good deeds.

Have an outreach plan that gives both you and your employees a chance to interact with, and give back to, the larger community in a positive way.

7. Reward your employees.

Money cannot buy loyalty but money does serve as a metaphor – telling your employees how much you value them. Fair wages, appropriate raises and an occasional unexpected treat can go a long way in building loyal employees.

8. Cultivate peak performance.

Provide your employees with training and development opportunities so that they can learn and grow. And, as they develop, challenge them to set and meet high expectations.

9. Foster a team mentality.

Encourage your employees to communicate their ideas and allow them to influence company practices and policies. Likewise, share your own vision for the future and your thoughts as to how you will all get there together.

10. Recognise and respond.

Everyone appreciates positive feedback. And, once it becomes clear that you are willing and able to provide it, most employees will go the extra mile in order to get it.

11. Build solid relationships.

Find common ground, share life experiences, prove your trustworthiness, and be patient as strong relationships blossom over time.

12. The Platinum Rule.

There is no blueprint for fostering employee loyalty. As you go about your business, remember that each employee must be seen as an individual – what works in some cases will bring disaster in another. Forget the golden rule – don’t treat your employees, as you want to be treated. Instead, find out what each of them needs and wants and proceed with that in mind.

13. Be yourself.

Find your own management style. Somewhere between surrogate mother, who is more caretakers then boss and the Leona Helmsley stereotype, who responds to employees with contempt and ridicule, each of us can find our own happy medium.

Curbing absenteeism

Everybody misses a day of work now and then. But it’s a problem when an employee misses too many days of work. Not showing up for work can cause serious problems when other employees have to cover for the missing worker or, worse, the work simply doesn’t get done. Here are keys to controlling absenteeism in your growing company:

  • Find out whether the absent employee missed work voluntarily or involuntarily. Involuntarily means illness or another unavoidable reason – this is the kind of absenteeism you shouldn’t concern yourself with as a manager, unless some kind of counselling or assistance could help the employee regain his or her health. Voluntary absenteeism is the kind you need to worry about. This occurs when an employee is absent without good reason. Get documentation – for example, a doctor’s note – to ascertain whether an absence was involuntary or voluntary.
  • Decide whether the absenteeism is excessive. Compare the employee’s attendance record with other employees’ records. If one employee’s record is way out of line, unless there are extenuating circumstances, that’s probably excessive absenteeism.
  • Meet with the employee to explore the absences. Keep your discussion friendly and oriented toward understanding and solving the problem, not placing blame and dispensing discipline.
  • If things don’t get better, explain the problem to the employee and request improved performance. Employees may not know their absences are affecting others unless you tell them and ask them to improve.
  • Put the problem in writing. Make sure you give the employee a copy of the written notice. In addition, you should also put one in his or her personnel file.
  • Most employees will straighten up and start coming to work regularly during this process. If they don’t, however, you’ll be prepared to terminate them, should this be necessary, if you follow these guidelines.

 Running a Call Centre?

A high level of absenteeism is not only extremely costly to employers but it can add to the burden of the rest of the staff and lower morale. A vast amount of research has been undertaken over the years looking into the reasons for absenteeism and when researchers scratched beneath the surface, the predominant reason that people tend to take time off work is because of stress.

There are many reasons why people get stressed because of work.

Common reasons are:

  • Employers and supervisors who are very authoritarian and inflexible
  • Bosses who adopt a blame culture when things go wrong
  • Managers who speak “down” to workers
  • Working under managers with poor listening skills, who set unreachable goals
  • Poor communication skills
  • Relationship difficulties between employees
  • Alcoholism
  • Domestic violence
  • Family problems

These issues often result in a high staff turnover, increased absenteeism, low staff morale, employee burnout and genuine illnesses such as headaches and backaches. Although workers will usually give another reason for their absence, some kind of stress-related problem is usually the cause.

How to deal with absenteeism

Management

The first step is to deal with problem management styles by providing managers with “people” skills training.

Employees

Some companies allow employees to cash-in unused sick days; others give an employee a small bonus for every month of perfect attendance. Others provide employees a meal out, a weekend away, a certificate of achievement, or other prizes. The type of incentive programme that your company uses should be one created especially to suit your company culture.

Develop an attendance policy

An attendance policy allows a manager to intervene with an employee who is frequently absent. If you confront an employee about his or her frequent absenteeism, and they inform you it is due to personal problems, consider referring the employee for professional help.

Human Resources (HR)

If your business is too small to have an in-house HR department, ensure that a trust-worthy member of staff, someone that the staff can relate to and feel that they can trust with their most intimate secrets, is available to offer guidance and mentoring. If this is not practical, then outsource the HR role to a specialist company that can be fair and objective.

The call centre example

Call centres typically have a higher rate of unplanned absences to deal with, which increases workplace stress and decreases morale, as remaining employees are stretched thin to cover the absence of co-workers.
In most call centres, the main causes of absenteeism include:

  • Too much focus on quantity rather than quality of customer service
  • Abusive customers
  • An overuse of call monitoring, particularly where this is used punitively
  • Inadequate equipment that does not enable agents to do the job they are expected to do
  • Equipment failure
  • Unsupportive management

Effective management solutions include:

  • Listening to employee suggestions
  • Providing more training
  • Providing strong and sympathic support
  • Decreasing the focus on quantity not quality
  • Improving the ‘people attitude’ of managers and supervisors.
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