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Supply Chain News:Tips for Reducing Absenteeism in Distribution

 

A Carrot and Proactive Management can Often be Better than the Stick

 
July 21, 2021
SCDigest Editorial Staff

In an era of significant labor shortages in distribution, workers not showing up as scheduled can significantly impact facility throughput.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

ProLogistix says it’s smart to make sure that when an employee is out for even one day the company checks on the reason behind the absence.


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Many companies use a “point” type system to try to manage the situation, warning and eventually firing workers with some numbers of missed time that add to their points tally.

That of course is a technique characterized by use of a “stick.” It may be needed, but are there other approaches companies can take to reduce absenteeism in the DC?

A recent blog post by warehouse staffing firm ProLogistix offered some additional steps to address the problem, which are summarized below:

Understand why persistent absenteeism may occasionally arise: A company can often go weeks or months without facing a serious attendance issue - but ProLogistix say even a few relatively small issues here and there can come together to create a problem.

 

“If you keep detailed records of when attendance issues arise and why, you may be able to identify patterns that allow you to cut some of these root causes off at the pass,” ProLogistix says, noting that while some attendance problems crop up for unforeseeable reasons (such as a sick child), most occur for more systemic reasons.

Increase scheduling flexibility:
One of the biggest causes of absenteeism comes in the form of scheduling policies that don't take workers' needs into account, ProLogistix says.

“When you schedule workers for specific shifts and demand that they be there on time with absolutely no wiggle room for things like traffic, taking kids to school or anything else, that's going to increase your absentee rate,” the blog post notes.
Conversely, giving workers a path to make up time missed or otherwise allow for some flexibility can improve the situation.

Reward and recognize good attendance rates: ProLogistix says in fact you can offer a carrot rather than a stick. It says that it's a good idea to set up attractive perks or rewards for employees or even teams that achieve strong attendance records.


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“This shouldn't be a situation where someone gets a single extra day off if they go a year without using a sick day, but rather something more generous that will encourage people to not miss a day of work unless they truly need it,
ProLogistix says, adding that rewarding even a single month of perfect attendance in some small way can be highly beneficial.


Follow up after absences: ProLogistix says it’s smart to make sure that when an employee is out for even one day the company checks on the reason behind the absence. By doing that, a company maintains strong records of these issues and can potentially spot patterns - even if they crop up across an entire team rather than being persistent for a single worker. “This, in turn, can inform future attendance policy changes that lead to falling rates of absenteeism,” ProLogistix notes.


So there you have it: Four smart tips for a more proactive approach to missed time in the DC that can augment basic point systems most companies use.

What do you think of these tips to reduce missed work by warehouse workers? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


 
 
   

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