Connect with us

Hiring & Managing Staff

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

A motivated workforce is a productive one.




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


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


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.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Hiring & Managing Staff

How do I best present an offer of employment?

You need to consider these aspects before offering a job position to future employees.

Juliette Attwell



Many business owners think that presenting an offer of employment is quite a simple, cut and dried task. You present the offer and the candidate can “take it or leave it!”. Until you actually really want that exceptional talent in your business and they’ve declined your offer for something as simple as; not enough leave days or a proposed start date that they may not be able to adhere to.

Related: Can staff training increase my turnover?

These are all minor problems that if given the opportunity to be voiced could be ironed out quite easily without either party feeling like they’ve sold their soul. Unfortunately however in many instances this opportunity is not given and businesses end up losing talent to their competitors. So how do you best present a letter of offer?

1. Know the persons expectations before presenting

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is that both parties know expectations and priorities.

  • What is more attractive to the candidate?
  • Is it a higher salary or more days leave?
  • Is it a company car or rather flexible working hours?

In an interview situation a candidate may not be too forthcoming with information on what salary they are looking for as they may feel intimidated or embarrassed.

In this case it’s a good idea to find out this information from their recruitment agent or ask them to email you after the interview with a range of salaries they would be happy to move for. You can then assess how this would fit into your budget.

2. Present the offer letter in person

Says Lisa Knowles; Head of Global Recruitment at Recruitgroup: “If you are using the services of a recruitment agent they will do this for you, they have built that relationship and trust with the candidate and will be able to offer an objective opinion. If not however it is best to meet in person and iron out any questions they or you may have.”

3. Implement an expiry date

A deadline of about 24 hours to a maximum of 2 days should be in writing on the letter of offer.

If the person is serious about the role they will not need more than this to think about and discuss their decision with their significant other.

Of course this is within reason and if longer is needed with justifiable cause then this can be negotiated.

Related: What personality traits and qualifications do head hunters look for?

4. Be flexible

Before presenting a letter of offer decide on how much room you have to manoeuvre. Presenting an offer is much like doing a dance, in the beginning you’re not quite sure of your partner’s style, you try to work together moving a few steps forward and a few steps backwards and standing on toes every now and then.

Eventually though you find out what works for both of you and you fall into step. If you need to change certain points of the offer then do so if you feel the candidate is worth it.

Communication and flexibility are key. Your business needs to move forward with top talent that are engaged, focused and happy. This can only be achieved they feel valued and satisfied right from the start. An offer letter is by no means purely about salary.

There are so many other factors that come into consideration when candidates choose to accept or decline an offer. It’s whether you’re willing to find out and listen to these that will help you either snap up or lose top talent.

Continue Reading

Hiring & Managing Staff

Can staff training increase my turnover?

Can I afford to train my staff and maintain a profitable business?

Kirsty Chadwick




At last year’s Consumer Goods Council, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu stated, “Almost 80% of SMMEs fail in the first year and only 50% of those last more than five business years”. It is hard enough keeping your business on track, and having to train staff can be costly.

Related: (Infographic) Outsourced vs Online Training: What Actually Works?

With legislation now in place that makes this training obligatory, the pressure is immense.

How can I comply with the Employment Equity Act to train my staff?

The Employment Equity Act requires business owners to conduct staff training in the fields of HIV/AIDS, sexual harassment and cultural sensitivity. If these requirements are not met, an inspector from the Department of Labour may issue a fine of R500 000. These inspections can happen unannounced at any time.

How can one balance complying with this Act with the extra expenditure on staff training?

E-learning materials are customisable and can be edited for a targeted demographic of learners. Information can be adjusted if it changes, which in turn cuts costs of having to purchase new textbooks or print materials.

Using video, animation, text and audio inputs, many industries have discovered the value of making training interactive.

For employees with low literacy capabilities, compiling video material allows for a dramatic reduction in reading for learners.

Animation can be used to demonstrate complex problems and solutions. Able to provide lessons in its social context, it assists learners to retain large quantities of information.

Virtual Classrooms
A virtual classroom allows online interaction between students, teachers and peers. The major benefit of using this method is that it eliminates the need to travel to lessons.

Instructional Design
If your training needs are specific to your business, a customised e-learning solution can be designed and developed from start to finish to best suit your needs.

Related: Maximum Growth Through Top Teams

Blended Learning
Not everyone has adapted to using technology. Some learners still need human interaction to grasp a topic. If this is the case taking the route of blended learning, which combines digital with face-to-face, would be most appropriate.

There is e-learning material currently available on HIV/AIDS, sexual harassment and cultural sensitivity. The beauty of e-learning material is its adaptability to meet the needs of your workforce.

Continue Reading

Hiring & Managing Staff

What personality traits and qualifications do head hunters look for?

The age cut-off depends on the skills set the executive has to offer.

Auguste Coetzer



What personality traits and qualifications do head hunters look for when trying to fill a top executive position for a firm?

First and most important is displaying that you are able to walk in a fellow executives ‘moccasins’ (empathy not sympathy). Long-winded executives that cannot make a point will never make it to the ‘real’ top. Communication skills, whether verbal or written, are critical.

Integrity and honesty are well received. Even well seasoned executives sometimes cannot answer this question “what is the biggest mistake you have made in your life and how did you rectify it?” Executives must also be aware of their development areas.

Related: How important is internal communication in my business?

When it comes to qualifications, it very much depends on the industry. It is highly unlikely that the group CEO of a mining house would not hold a relevant mining degree from a reputable university coupled with an MBA. On a lighter note I cannot imagine the CEO of a well known wine, beer and spirits company not having a keen interest in wine tasting and not knowing the difference between a good or mediocre wine.

A solid basic university degree or a good B Tech degree from a technikon is only an entry point not a guarantee to success, similarly a prestigious MBA might raise your profile, but at the end of the day if it cannot be applied optimally in the work place then that prestigious qualification is only good on paper.

Work history and a proven track record are very important when considering candidates. Good executives are not ‘job hoppers’. Executives that have steadily climbed the ladder with the same employer is a positive. To change jobs just for better remuneration is a no go. Hard core competencies are non-negotiable.

It is not the number of years that is important, but the knowledge you have gained during those years you worked and what change or turnaround record you have to offer to a prospective employer. One can have ten years experience, but in fact only have one year repetitive experience.

Officially age should not matter, but it would very much depend on the retirement age policy of the organisation at the older age spectrum. The pendulum is returning to where companies would consider a 55 year old for executive level employment.

At the younger end of the scale it would depend on the position requirements. The determining factors being qualifications, competencies and most importantly emotional intelligence.

Related: Do I need to invest heavily in expensive technology in order to let my staff work flexible hours?

Continue Reading



Recent Posts

Follow Us

We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.