Stop Sickies and Make People Happy At Work
If you're an employer or a manager then work place absence is costing you money, inconvenience, and upsetting your customers. And as we all know, not all days taken off work are due to genuine sickness. Many employees "take a sickie" because their morale is low and they just don't like or can't do their work.
The challenge for employers and managers is to make people happier at work. And if people are happy at work then they are less likely to take a day off every time they wake up with a stuffy nose. Some bosses think that paying more money, improving job security or working conditions is answer. It isn't and it's also something that can be very hard to achieve.
People who employ or supervise other people need to become more tuned to their employees' emotional needs and find out what really motivates them. This is also much easier to achieve than paying more money or improving job security, however there is no quick fix. Some years ago I inherited a tele-sales operation with low staff morale and poor sales results. It took nearly a year to fix. The long-term benefits were of course worth it in terms of fewer days lost due to sickness and an increase in business. To reduce number of sickies there are four steps you need to consider. Firstly, pick right person for job. There's a television advertisement running at present for a recruitment company. It highlights fact that many people are in wrong job for their skills and attributes. The daft thing is that it was an employer or manager who put them in job in first place. We need to get better at interviewing and selecting people. Take more time over it; pay more attention to applicant's human side rather than their qualifications or experience. Get to know them better. Find out what makes them happy, how well they get on with other people and how much energy and enthusiasm they have. Make sure they know what they're getting into and be sure job suits them.
A manager in telecom industry was telling me about an engineer who was taking too many sickies. He was being blamed for a poor attitude to his work. His job involved working in tunnels under city repairing and installing equipment. Eventually it was discovered that poor guy was claustrophobic and was trying to deal with it on his own. He still works for same team but in a job that doesn't involve small spaces. It's not always easy to move people, which emphasises importance of getting it right in first place.
Secondly, you need to believe in your people. If you've interviewed well and picked right person for job then you need to trust them to do that job. You need to constantly demonstrate to your people that you trust and believe in them by what you say, your tone of voice and your body language. If you believe that your people are not to be trusted, that they're unable to make a decision without checking with you. That they'll turn up late and go home early, then that's exactly what they'll do. If on other hand you believe that they'll do their job well, that they can be trusted to make decisions and they will give you a fair day's work, then it is more likely this is what you'll get. As with all theories there is no guarantee that it will work every time, however majority of employees are reasonable people and if you treat them as such then they are more likely to behave in a positive manner.
The third and probably most important thing you can do to motivate your people is to give them feedback and coach them. This is where so many employers and managers fall down in dealing with their people; we are hopeless at giving feedback. Many managers are uncomfortable telling staff how they feel about their work performance.
Most employees want to know how they are performing in their job; they want to know if they are doing it right or how they could do it better. If you really want to motivate your people then you need to give them feedback on what they're doing well and what needs improvement.