Suffering from excessive sick leave? ► Read this

Do you have employees who call in sick often or never show up on time for their shifts? You’re not the only one.

Research has shown that most companies in the UK have at least one “problematic” employee, costing them more than the employee yields in revenue.

What most companies don’t realise is that there are often underlying reasons why employees show this kind of behaviour. In this article, we’ll explore why employees call in sick often and how to address and solve the situation.

Reasons Why Employees Call in Sick Often

As mentioned in the introduction, there are often underlying reasons why an employee calls in sick. Besides the obvious reason of actually being sick a lot, it could occur that an employee calls in sick because of a personal reason. This could be a sick family member that needs to be taken care of, not having sufficient time to drop off and pick up children from school or an unstable situation at home.

Another major reason employees call in sick often is that they don’t like their workplace or are not stimulated well enough to perform at their place of employment. This happens, for example, when an employee can’t find their rota schedule online and has to call in every time they need information about their shift.

An unhappy employee is a problem that should be addressed immediately, as it could affect the other employees as well. It can be assumed that when one person is unhappy, there are other unhappy staff members as well, even if they don’t clearly show it.

Whatever the reason is, it’s often best to address the situation carefully and never assume that the employee is too lazy or not willing to work. In fact, their personal situation might get even worse if you let an employee go without knowing their personal situation. It’s therefore of the utmost importance to tread carefully and try to fix the situation the best you can.

How to Address the Situation

Confronting an employee that is perpetually late or calls in sick often can be a difficult endeavour. You should treat the situation delicately and make sure that the employee feels safe and comfortable enough to talk about their situation. Remember that talking to your employer about a personal issue or a dislike of the workplace is not easy. Be kind and patient, make sure to listen, and think before you speak.

In a delicate situation such as this, it might be a good idea to employ the help of a member of the HR staff or an independent mediator first. They might be able to give you more tips on how to handle the situation and know the general UK sick leave policy. In addition, a member of the HR staff might be aware of the employee’s personal situation and should be able to lead the conversation. Just make sure that the employee doesn’t feel ambushed or feel like they are being reprimanded. This will certainly not improve their behaviour.

How to Improve Your Workplace

Suppose an employee indicates that they are not happy with their workplace, for example, because the work is not stimulating enough. In that case, their benefits are not adequate, or they have scheduling conflicts. Rest assured that they are not the only employees feeling that way. If the workplace doesn’t feel safe because there is bullying or bad management involved, it might be time to make some changes in the workforce.

Does the employee feel that their benefits are not adequate? Then there are several things you can do. The most obvious solution would be to increase salaries, however, this is a short term solution and might not increase employee happiness in the long run. If you are looking for a long-term solution, implementing a reward system might be a better call.

For example, you could pick an employee of the month and reward them with coupons, gift certificates, and other gifts, or you might want to opt for a more personal approach. This could take the form of free child care, an educational program, or the implementation of an online rostering system to avoid scheduling conflicts and make applying for leave easier.

What to Do if the Situation Is Personal

It could also happen that an employee indicates that the reason for their recurring sick leave is personal, for example, when their situation at home is not great or when they have other obligations that conflict with their working schedule. In this situation, it’s best to provide a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. Let the employee talk, express their emotions, and make sure that they know their secret is safe with you.

It is essential that you don’t try to fix the problem behind their back. Your involvement might not always make the situation better. In fact, if you act without the consent of your employee, the situation might become even worse for them. Consult a professional, such as child services, an HR employee, or a therapist, before getting involved in the situation. They can often tell you what to do and how to be there for your staff member.

What to Do if the Situation Doesn’t Improve

Many bosses don’t always realise it, but your employees are your biggest asset. They are the ones that keep the company going and generate your income. Therefore, their happiness should be the company’s biggest priority. However, if an employee is always late or calling in sick and doesn’t show much improvement after you’ve taken steps to get to know their situation, it might be best to let them go.

An employee who is always sick can cost a lot of income and might harm your business in the long run. In conclusion, put your employees’ well-being first, but don’t lose sight of what is good for your business and what is not.