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Employers not doing enough to control workplace absenteeism

Businesses that create incentives for wellness program participation could see a reduction in their absenteeism rates.

Absenteeism and employee turnover can reduce the efficiency of any office. Many businesses understand that departments need to run at an optimal level to remain competitive, but few firms take the necessary steps to control absenteeism, according to recent survey by ADP Research Institute.

More than half of respondents noted that missing workers reduced productivity, but only 27 percent of large employers sought opportunities to correct the problem. The most common reason given for missed work days was health-related issues. Businesses that create incentives for wellness program participation could see a reduction in their absenteeism rates.

"Although companies are aware of the resulting losses in productivity, many are unwilling or unable to take explicit steps to control absenteeism," said Tim Clifford, president of benefits services and talent management at ADP.

Large companies in particular had problems with missing employees, according to the survey. On average, 3.5 percent of their workers were out each day, compared to 3.2 percent at midsize businesses. The same was true for employee turnover. 1to1 Media reports that the average turnover rate for U.S. call centers is 43 percent, but centers with more than 1,000 agents saw their rates jump to an average of 70 percent annually.

Businesses that take the time to establish employee recognition programs could alter the corporate culture enough to increase staff engagement and reduce absenteeism. These programs can be customized to promote the long-term goals that companies are trying to achieve. They can also be adjusted  to more accurately reflect changes in the work environment.

Absenteeism could be caused by illness or high stress levels. Having incentive programs in place to reward employees who join a gym, lose weight or go for routine medical checkups could not only keep staff healthy, but lower insurance costs as well. The potential to reduce health insurance payouts is one of the reasons that wellness programs have become popular. The aging workforce, long hours and increased workloads have made it difficult for businesses in any industry to control healthcare costs. Incentive programs are a simple and effective way for organizations to show value to their workers, keep them healthy and build an engaging office environment.

Whatever the cause for employees missing work, having a fun, energized office culture motivates staff members and makes them look forward to work each day. The right recognition programs allow businesses to create an environment that can lower absenteeism.

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