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Oct 16, 2014

When busy managers spend a lot of time out of the office, it translates to loose constraints for employees who don’t punch a time clock. You want to trust your employees. After all, you hired them for a reason.

A CareerBuilder survey reveals 23 percent of employees arrive late to work at least once a month, and 15 percent once per week. Research by Circadian shows partial shift absences like these lead to an average payroll inflation of 72 percent.

Even more shocking, companies lose $2,650 per salaried employee and $3,600 per hourly employee per year due to unplanned employee absences. Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports business lose an average of 2.8 work days due to unplanned employee absences.

Life happens. People get sick and family emergencies pop up. But if you’re trying to keep a mental count of all the, “I need to leave early” days, they can seriously add up without you realizing it.

Here are some tips to help you prevent employees from abusing PTO (paid time off) and keep track of time off more easily:

Automate schedule management

One of the ways you can prevent PTO abuse is better schedule management through an automated system.

There are plenty of programs out there designed for HR managers to use to manage schedules, tasks, and communicate with employees. Some are even integrated into payroll, so time off benefits can be reported more seamlessly.

Support your employees’ work-life balance

A study from the American Psychological Review shows seven out of 10 American workers struggle for work-life balance.

In the study, 700 IT professionals were split into two groups. In one, workers worked more than 50 hours per week and experienced high pressure to be visible at the office. The second group had more control over where and when they worked, with plenty of support for their family and personal lives from supervisors.

After six months, those in the second group reported less work-family conflict. Overall, this group reported feeling less overwhelmed and having more time to spend with family.

Further, other research shows that 85 percent of employees believe loyalty, health, and performance suffer when a company does not offer flexibility or support work-life balance.

Strengthen work ethic values

This might surprise you, but the problem may lie with your management team. Employees learn a company’s work ethic values from supervisors, and if supervisors don’t respect company time, employees probably won’t either.

The book Deviant and Criminal Behavior in the Workplace reveals that abusive interactions, and seeing these interactions in the workplace, may lead to deviant behavior. Not only that, but a deviant organizational culture can create an environment where deviant behaviors are the norm.

Work ethic is part of a company’s culture, and if ethic appears to be low, it’s time to rework the values and norms your team shares. Since 47 percent of employees feel company culture impacts job satisfaction, this might be the key to regaining employee loyalty in terms of work ethic.

Improve communication – and your PTO policies

To work on improving your culture, first improve communication. Send regular updates to all employees on everything from company news to events to recognition for hard work. You can do this through email, memos, or an integrated HCM platform.

With all the wasted time and money unhappy employees cost companies by abusing PTO, you probably want to make it a priority to check in with your team to see how everyone’s doing. PTO policies are difficult to enforce, especially for managers and employees who spend a majority of time out of the office.

Unplanned employee absences cost companies big money in lost productivity, high-cost replacement workers, and excess staffing. Simply avoid this by keeping your employees happy and engaged, and you’re less likely to take a hit from PTO abuse.

What are some other ways you can stop employees from abusing PTO?

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