If you think you are having a bad day, just think about
that poor employee who had to call off from work because
his false teeth blew out of the window of his car.
Or what about the poor employee whose car was surrounded
by a swarm of bees and couldn’t drive to work?
These are just a few of the excuses employees have used
in 2013 according to the annual CareerBuilder survey of
absenteeism in the workplace.
Here are a few more of the “creative” reasons for being
absent from work:
*Employee couldn’t decide what to wear.
*Employee bit her tongue and couldn’t talk.
*Employee got lost and ended up in another state.
*Employee’s favorite football team lost on Sunday so he
needed Monday to recover.
*The chemical in turkey made the employee fall asleep and
he missed his shift.
HR POINTER: According to the CareerBuilder survey, 32% of
employees call in sick, when they aren’t really sick. The
cure for this situation reaches back to a great seminar on
absenteeism from the 1970s.
That seminar from “antiquity” identified 3 types of
#1 Absent-Averse – 95%+ of the workforce.
#2 Borderline Absent-Prone – 3%+/- of the workforce.
#3 Absent-Prone Employees – 2%+/- of the workforce.
The seminar noted that the biggest issue with lateness and
absenteeism is that an employee can be late or take a day
off and just slip back into work without anyone
confronting the employee about his/her absence.
The seminar identified a cure that had a 95% success rate.
The simple solution was the establishment of a company
policy that required a supervisor to meet with every
employee who was late or absent and record on a simple
(A) The date of the incident and
(B) The reason for the lateness or absence.
It is critical the that these 2 steps be completed EVERY
time a person arrives late or returns to work following an
Additionally as part of this fix to absenteeism, it was
recommended that the supervisor have a short script that
described the alternate arrangements that needed to be
made or the problems that were caused by the lateness or
absence. This little awareness script worked wonders over
time on those employees who might be leaning toward being
an absent-prone individual.
The benefits of this approach include:
#1 A consistent message to absent-prone people along with
documentation to support any subsequent disciplinary
#2 A wake-up call to the borderline absent-prone
#3 A “two thumbs up” from the absent-averse employees who
are always at work and are happy to see management finally
doing something about the abusers.