Five ways your business can reduce presenteeism in the workplace

Is presenteeism counterproductive? In this article, we look at five key ways organizations can reduce the impact of presenteeism, also exploring the wider benefits on workplace culture and staff satisfaction.

5 mins read
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5 months ago

There is no doubt that absenteeism – regular, unplanned staff absences – is bad for business. But what most employers don’t often realize is that the opposite, referred to as presenteeism, can be just as harmful to your workplace.

What is presenteeism?

Presenteeism is often cited as one of the biggest threats to workplace productivity. It is the phenomenon of employees turning up to work when they are not fully fit, either physically or mentally, and thus performing below their optimal level. These individuals are trying to fulfill their jobs, but due to health problems or other circumstances, can’t work at full capacity.

It can have negative consequences for both the individual and the organization, such as reduced productivity, lower quality of work, increased stress, and higher health risks.

There are various factors that cause presenteeism, such as excessive workload, job insecurity, lack of sick leave, or a culture that rewards long hours and discourages taking breaks. Without a clear separation between work and home – further exacerbated by the introduction of hybrid working – professionals may find it difficult to disconnect and set clear boundaries.

This lack of separation can lead to longer working hours, increased workloads, and, most importantly, difficulty in taking breaks or even time off.

How to tackle presenteeism in your workforce

So, how do you spot the signs of presenteeism, and how do you broach the subject tactfully among your workforce? Here are five ways to banish presenteeism for good:

Recognize the symptoms

Employees with health problems, especially those related to mental health, often feel an inability to disclose their feelings to their manager. At the same time, those in managerial positions are rarely trained to effectively support employees who are struggling.

It’s essential that managers are educated to some degree to be able to notice when employees are showing signs of stress or mental health problems. Not only that, managers need to feel confident and equipped to have open and supportive conversations with employees about their health and overall satisfaction levels while at work.

With almost three in five employees saying they would take less time off work if their employer enhanced the health and wellbeing services available to them, this evidence supports the value of reviewing existing policies and practices. Work-life balance, menopause support, and an ‘open-door’ policy all help build a culture that prioritizes people.

Evaluate your well-being policy

Professionals will often still come to work if they are experiencing long wait times for a doctor’s appointment or if they are unable to get an appointment outside of working hours. This not only impacts the recovery time but can also lead to a build-up of stress while waiting to be seen or awaiting the results of a diagnosis. Ill health, such as colds and coughs, can also be quickly spread around the workplace.

A strategic well-being policy that offers appropriate support can help reduce the impact of presenteeism. Programs that promote good mental, physical, financial, and social health can help prevent illnesses and reduce the impact of long-term conditions. Whether it's discounts to be used on fitness equipment, access to yoga classes, or mental well-being initiatives, a clear plan to help employees can lead to a happier and healthier workforce.

Lead by example

If managers go to work when they are ill, their teams are likely to feel they have to do the same. Leaders need to set a good example and stay at home when they are unwell – especially given flexible working policies are now fully implemented.

Presenteeism often occurs when employees feel they can’t afford to take time off due to heavy workloads, upcoming deadlines or not wanting to burden their colleagues with their absence. It’s important that managers know how much work employees have on, so they are able to help manage it.

Holding frequent one-to-ones or team meetings can help highlight if employees are in need of any support – be it with their work or well-being. This should help reduce any work-related stress and promote healthy working practices to those making a return to work after a prolonged absence.

Clear communication of company culture

Clarify with your workforce about where the company stands on employees coming into work ill, also ensuring a sickness reporting procedure is outlined.

Clearly define and communicate your policies, such as sick pay and time off allowances, and allow employees to ask any questions they may have. It’s also important to communicate the impact that unwell employees coming into work can have on fellow employees, customers, and the wider business.

When you’re clear on where the company stands when it comes to illness and working patterns, employees will feel comfortable staying home and recovering when they’re ill – rather than fearing any potential consequences of doing so.

Empower and trust your employees

It’s the people working in organizations that make the difference. They have the ability to grow business, increase engagement, and enhance reputations. By creating positive and supportive work environments, where employees feel they can take time off when needed, presenteeism can be reduced.

By empowering employees in the workplace, leaders can directly enhance their psychological safety – the belief that they can speak up, take risks, and make mistakes without fear of negative consequences. Employees who feel psychologically safe are more likely to seek help, share ideas, and collaborate with others, which can improve their health and performance.

If presenteeism isn’t already on your radar, it should be. Making appropriate changes to absence policies and aspects of workplace culture will help ensure your workforce is healthier and more motivated. For businesses, an investment in people through good quality employee benefits could be just what workers need to eradicate presenteeism.

If you are searching for a talented professional to join your team, or looking to embark on a new career opportunity, get in touch with one of our specialist consultants today.

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Tackling hiring fraud guidance – free download
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Tackling hiring fraud guidance – free download

Hiring fraud is an insidious practice that undermines trust and poses significant financial and reputational risks for businesses. As employers strive to find the right talent, they must remain vigilant against fraudulent activities that can tarnish their operations and brand integrity.

Hiring fraud manifests in various forms, from falsified credentials and fabricated work histories to identity theft and impersonation. These tactics often deceive even the most astute recruiters, leading to the unwitting employment of unqualified or dishonest individuals. The consequences can be dire, ranging from decreased productivity and morale to legal liabilities and damage to company reputation.

Detecting fraudulent applications has become increasingly challenging. However, employers can use several strategies to safeguard their recruitment processes.

Most recently, Reed has contributed to the first guidance of its kind to help organisations protect their recruitment practices. ‘Tackling hiring fraud: the response to a growing problem’ serves as a frontline tool in the battle against fraudulent hiring activity.

Steps to a secure hiring process

The guide, fronted by the Better Hiring Institute, identifies nine types of fraudulent activity: reference fraud, qualification fraud, fake application documents, CV-based fraud, employment scams, manipulation of artificial intelligence, dual employment, immigration fraud and fraud as a result of recruitment agency usage. Each is addressed in detail with case studies and expert guidance on prevention.

As a rule, thorough background checks are indispensable. Employers should verify the authenticity of educational qualifications, professional certifications, and employment histories provided by candidates. Utilising reputable background screening services, such as Reed Screening, can help uncover discrepancies and ensure that prospective hires possess the credentials they claim.

Identity verification measures are essential. Adopting biometric authentication or identity verification technologies will help, reducing the likelihood of impersonation and identity theft.

Stringent interview processes can also serve as a deterrent against fraudulent candidates. Conducting multiple rounds of interviews, including in-person assessments, and soliciting detailed responses can identify genuine candidates from impostors.

Technology can automate and streamline recruitment processes. Candidate tracking systems equipped with fraud detection algorithms can flag irregularities in applications, adding a further layer of protection.

It can also help to raise awareness of hiring fraud with your employees – encouraging them to report suspicious activities and provide avenues for whistleblowing. Providing guidance on how to spot red flags can have a ripple effect, protecting both the business and employees from falling victim to fraud in their career.

Protect your business with our hiring fraud guidance – free download

Technology has enabled criminals to take advantage of traditional recruitment processes, and organisations must adapt if they are to avoid CV fraud, employment scams, manipulation of AI tools and many more tactics.

Reed Screening, together with Better Hiring Institute and other partners, have defined hiring fraud as any fraud committed during the hiring process, which may be committed by an individual against an organisation, or by an entity against a jobseeker.

This comprehensive guide, ‘Tackling hiring fraud: the response to a growing problem’, identifies how employers can protect their organisations, using expert advice on how to prevent the most common criminal activity.

"Employers should be very worried about hiring fraud. At Reed Screening, we have made huge progress over the last few years in making hiring faster globally, including being referenced by UK government for our work on digital right to work. However, with the development of technology and improvements in the speed of hiring, we have seen an acceleration and amplification of fraud."

Keith Rosser
Director of Group Risk & Reed Screening – Reed

The new Better Hiring Institute free guide on tackling hiring fraud, co-written by Reed Screening and Cifas, contains a really useful checklist for HRDs (human resources directors) and CPOs (chief people officers) to use to ensure the company they represent has all the right defences in place.

Download our free hiring fraud guidance to help safeguard your organisation using the button at the top of this page.

Hiring fraud: how to safeguard your organisation
6 mins read

Hiring fraud: how to safeguard your organisation

​To combat the rising tide of hiring fraud, Reed Screening recently joined forces with the Better Hiring Institute and fraud prevention experts Cifas and ST Smith, to launch guidance for employers. This free, comprehensive eBook is now available to download and provides the latest insight into the gravity and scale of threat facing organisations today.

Complete with case studies highlighting common criminal activity, such as resume fraud and employment scams, the guidance offers solutions to counter these tech-based crimes, helping to protect your recruitment teams from falling victim to imposters and impersonators.

We spoke to Keith Rosser, Director of Group Risk & Reed Screening – Reed, about the new guide, Tackling hiring fraud: the response to a growing problem.