Management Involvement Reduces Absenteeism

October 19, 2000 ( - Management involvement can have a significant impact on worker absences, reducing the rate by as much as 74% according to a new survey, which also found an "employee entitlement mentality" the most commonly cited reason for absenteeism.

Employers that implement three specific disability and absence management techniques have an absence rate of just 1.4%, compared with a 5.3% rate for employers that don’t, according to the fifth annual Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH)/Watson Wyatt Worldwide survey on integrated disability management.

According to the survey, employers could realize a significant decrease in their absenteeism by:

  • Utilizing disability case management
  • Involve line supervisors in absence management
  • Designating an internal absence manager

The survey also found that two-thirds of employers don’t know what their current absence rate is, or how it compares with competitors. The survey was based on responses from 106 employers with more than 1,000 workers.

While surveyed employers are aware of the importance of having accurate systems to measure absences, 61% cited a lack of information systems to track disability experience, while a comparable 61% cited a lack of cooperation from doctors as a barrier to absence management.

This year’s survey also asked employers to rate the importance of items commonly believed to affect absenteeism and disability. The most important causes were:

  • 78% – Employee entitlement mentality
  • 68% – Lack of supervisor involvement
  • 66% – Recurrent sick leave use
  • 60% – Personal or family responsibilities
  • 59% – Employee dissatisfaction with job