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Stop sickies with surprise holidays and a buzzing atmosphere

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

We’ve just had National Sickie Day, the worst day of the year for absenteeism.

It's claimed that many employees shirk work on this day to attend job interviews. How do I spot the signs of an employee who wants to flee and what do I do about it?

If you’re not already, give everyone who takes a surprise day off a return-to-work interview. Nothing draconian, but an established routine that gives you a chance to discover the truth and judge whether your job-seeking suspicions are well-founded.

Having a number of colleagues searching the job market suggests that you have an even bigger problem. Face up to it: people aren't particularly keen on working for you or your business. This won't be solved overnight; creating a positive culture can take several years.

You need a business with plenty of buzz, full of positive personalities, with a boss who knows how to recognise success and make life fun (when did you last say “well done” by sending a colleague on a surprise holiday, or paying for them to take their partner out to celebrate an achievement?). When we started giving our colleagues an extra paid holiday on their birthday, we experienced an immediate drop in sickies.

Sadly, most companies are run by a set of rules, with managers scared of doing anything that isn't regarded as “best practice”. Systems-driven companies usually forget, or never even realised, that success is created by people, not by guidelines, proper process or governance.

The top management secret is to pick people with real personality, then give them freedom and all the support and praise that they deserve.

One of the best ways to help star colleagues – and keep them on the payroll – is to ensure that they work alongside like-minded people. Conscientious colleagues don't deserve to spend their working life next to people who fail to turn up on time. A good business has no place for people who rate only five or six out of 10.

Start improving your business by telling serial sickie-takers to find their happiness elsewhere – and give every colleague an extra day off on their birthday.

Article by John Timpson


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