If you’re a business owner or a manager then absence can be a real pain! It’s inconvenient, it’s damaging to customer service, you lose sales and it costs your business money. 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.
Make people happy
The challenge for managers and team leaders 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 the answer.
It isn’t and it’s also something that can be very hard to achieve.
Get on their wavelength
People who employ or supervise others 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 six months to fix. The long-term benefits were of course worth it in terms of fewer days lost due to sickness and an increase in sales.
To reduce the number of sickies there are 3 steps you need to consider:
1. Pick the right person for the job.
You need to get better at interviewing and selecting people. Take more time over it; pay more attention to the 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 the job suits them.
2. You need to believe in your people.
If you’ve interviewed well and picked the right person for the 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 also by 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 the other hand you believe that they’ll do their job well, that they can be trusted to make decisions, and they’ll give you a fair day’s work, then it’s more likely this is what you’ll get.
As with all theories there is no guarantee that it will work every time, however the majority of employees are reasonable people and if you treat them as such then they’re more likely to behave in a positive manner.
3. Give feedback and coach.
This is probably the most important thing you can do to motivate your team members.
This is where so many managers and team leaders fall down in dealing with their people; they’re hopeless at giving feedback.
Many managers are uncomfortable telling staff how they feel about their work performance be it good or bad.
Most employees want to know how they’re 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 also – what needs improvement.
When you notice an employee doing something you do like, tell them about it. When you notice something you don’t like, tell them about it.
Do it as soon as possible. Acknowledging a job well done is not much good six months later. Also, if you don’t immediately call someone’s attention to something you’re not happy about, then they’ll assume its okay. Either that or they’ll think you didn’t notice or you don’t care.
Do it in private; why is it some managers still feel its okay to reprimand someone in front of their colleagues? Even the mildest rebuke can have a negative effect on morale.
So there you have it; these steps will take time and thought however they’ll make a huge difference as to how employees feel about their work.
If they feel good and gain satisfaction from their work then they are less likely to find a reason to ‘take a sickie’.
Excerpt from How to be a Motivational Manager