Absenteeism, an employee’s intentional or habitual absence from the workplace, is a growing issue for many South African businesses due to the knock-on effect it creates for productivity, staff morale and a company’s bottom line, an expert said this week.
Christo Botes, Business Partners Limited executive director, said while the impact on larger corporations can be significant, the consequence of regular absenteeism for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can be detrimental, given that many of these businesses often employ less than 10 employees.
South African companies are losing R12 billion (about US$1.2 billion) every year due to absenteeism, according to Statistics SA.
“With SMEs being the key drivers of economic growth, many smaller businesses feel the financial loss of absenteeism considerably, due to the major role that each employee is likely to play within a relatively small team,” Botes said.
“The continued absence of one or two people within an SME can have a significant effect on a business.”
To alleviate this scourge, he urged the introduction of a positive culture and personal engagement between SME entrepreneurs and their staff.
“The importance of each team member is more evident within an SME, which results in staff being dependent on each other and aware of the team’s efforts,” he explained.
“Involving staff in the performance of the company will also help them understand the role they play in making the business successful. It will also result in the staff feeling valued and appreciated.”