Measuring and Analyzing Absenteeism

Employee absenteeism is an unavoidable challenge in the workplace. By studying the numbers behind your company’s absenteeism issues, you can gain an understanding of how big of a problem it is for your organization.

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Measuring Absenteeism

Human resources departments will generally find it useful to compute and analyze absenteeism occurrences. The following can assist in this regard:

  • Total Time Lost - Total time lost is one of the most popular measures that is used. The computation gives a percentage of total scheduled work time that is lost to absenteeism. The formula for the measure is:

    Total Time Lost = (Days Lost to Absenteeism for a Period) / ((Average Number of Employees) x (Total Days in Period)) x 100

  • Tardiness - Tardiness is a form of absenteeism that can create work schedule problems, particularly in manufacturing environments where machines and assembly lines are schedule to start at a specific time. Excessive tardiness disrupts normal working operations, making it difficult for first-level supervisors to synchronize the beginning of a shift operation.

Analyzing Absenteeism

Historical studies are often useful in identifying absence problems. For example a one-year study of absences may be analyzed by employee, work group, shift, department and division to determine which individuals and groups may be major contributors to the problem. In areas of high absence, the results of attitude surveys and exit interviews should be analyzed to locate sources of dissatisfaction that may be partially responsible fore the problem. An audit can assess the overall effectiveness of a firms absenteeism control system. The auditing procedures would involve examining the variables that affect employees' decisions to attend work, including absenteeism policies and goals, discipline and rewards, employee substance abuse, employee selection practices and supervisory practices.