Workplace absenteeism is an issue all businesses need to manage. According to a biennial workplace wellness survey, which saw 137 responses from organisations in the private and public sectors, on average, the rate of absence was 5.5 days per employee in 2022. It is a significant increase when compared to the rate of absence between 4.2 and 4.7 days between 2012 and 2020, hitting the highest rate of absenteeism since the survey began in 2012.

This translates to a NZD $2.86 billion (USD $1.69) loss for the economy, a substantial rise from NZD $1.85 billion (USD$1.09 billion) in the previous survey conducted in 2020.

Whatever the external circumstances or influencing factors might be, you need a plan to manage absenteeism. This becomes particularly important when the number of people taking unscheduled time off escalates to the point that it's having serious consequences for your business, such as missed deadlines or falling employee productivity.

In this blog, we highlight some of the ways Randstad can help you gain control over this issue, from responsive, reliable staffing solutions to long-term workforce management and care for your employees.

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read the case study to learn more about how we've helped our clients tackle absenteeism

download the case study

staff when you need them

First and foremost, you need the right capacity in your workforce to keep your core business running and achieve vital objectives, such as hitting deadlines for client delivery. If absenteeism is disrupting your fundamental processes and putting customer outcomes at risk, you need to be able to respond quickly and acquire the staff and skills you need to maintain productivity.

We can help by giving you instant access to a vetted and reliable talent network. When you're already struggling with diminished capacity, you don't have the time to source and evaluate staff who can come in at short notice to fill gaps in your labour force.

Handing over this process to a trusted, experienced HR company will save you time and ensure that you're getting people who have been thoroughly checked and assessed before being recommended to you. Furthermore, if you have a strong relationship with a recruitment partner, you can feel confident you're realising the full potential of flexible and contingent talent.

We have 60 years of experience in fulfilling the hiring and talent needs of businesses across a range of industries. By taking the time to understand your business and your key challenges, goals and priorities, we make sure we supply the right people at the right time.

Two female and a male are working on their desk
Two female and a male are working on their desk

workforce management and scheduling

Fast and responsive staffing often proves crucial when you have a short-term need to boost labour capacity, but it's just as important to have a clear view of the resources already available in your workforce and a plan to make the best possible use of them.

A top priority should be to ensure that you're always able to fill your critical roles - those that are essential to the day-to-day running of the company. One way of doing this is by always having staff in reserve who can do lower-priority jobs when you're sufficiently resourced but can also step in and take on key tasks when absenteeism is high.

It's also important to have a plan in place for positions that demand specialist training or niche expertise that could be difficult to find in the labour market.

This is where targeted training and skills development is crucial. Efficient staff scheduling helps to ensure you have people available to make up for shortages caused by absenteeism, but it can also provide the time and flexibility required for employees to undergo training and acquire new competencies.

Our Inhouse Services solution can help you improve your understanding of your human resources and optimise your workforce management and scheduling to reduce the risk of absenteeism having a serious impact on your business. This can include an emphasis on planning and training to help you deploy and develop your talent.

our care program

Fundamental provisions like pay and benefits are highly important to workers, of course, but employers that want to build strong and lasting relationships with their most valuable employees need to go further than basic remuneration.

Our latest Employer Brand Research showed that factors closely linked to general health and happiness, like good work/life balance and a pleasant work atmosphere, were among the top five reasons for people to choose an employer in 2020.

In a survey by LinkedIn, more than half of professionals said they were most proud of the work/life balance and flexibility at their company. Seven out of ten said they wouldn't work at a business that had a negative culture.

Concepts like work/life balance, flexibility and building a positive workplace atmosphere are directly linked to absenteeism since people who feel happy and engaged at work are less likely to take time off due to health issues like stress, anxiety and depression.

Furthermore, forging strong and collaborative relationships with employees makes it easier to have honest conversations, which will help you get to the root causes of absenteeism.

A key part of our offering to clients is our care program, which is part of our Inhouse Services solution. It can support your efforts to find out what's really important to your employees, what problems people might be facing, and consequently why you're experiencing high levels of absenteeism.

Another key element of our Inhouse Services approach is having a consultant based on-site at your business, if possible. This gives us a first-hand view of your workplace and what changes could help to make your workforce happier, healthier and safer. You'll also be supported by a wider team who can offer a broader view of your recruitment and HR function as a whole.

a holistic approach

When absenteeism starts to become a serious problem for your business, you need to look for a solution. You're likely to find that effective management of this issue doesn't come down to a single method or approach, but a range of tactics that come together to deliver positive and lasting results.

It's important to carry out workforce management and scheduling in a way that ensures you're making optimal use of available skills and resources at any given time, but you also have to be ready to hire qualified, reliable workers when you need them.

As well as being responsive and quick to react to the challenges created by absenteeism, you need to be proactive in your efforts to engage with your employees and get to the root causes of why it's becoming a problem.

In short, you need to take a holistic approach. This should place as much focus on subjects like staff wellbeing, engagement and job satisfaction as it does on core HR processes like workforce scheduling and recruitment.

We can support you at various stages of your mission to manage absenteeism, from hiring flexible workers when they're needed to boost capacity in your workforce, to optimising your resource planning, scheduling and training to help your existing staff reach their full potential.

If you'd like to learn more about how we've helped our clients tackle this challenge, you can read a case study on a global logistics company that turned to us after high absenteeism led to missed deadlines and unsustainable overtime costs.

download the case study
about the author
a bearded man wearing a suit while smiling and looking to the right
a bearded man wearing a suit while smiling and looking to the right

richard kennedy

country director

Richard is responsible for leading the continued growth of Randstad New Zealand. An empathetic and relationship focused business leader, Richard works closely with his talented team of recruitment professionals who are passionate about shaping the future of work.

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