Worker absenteeism is a problem that causes countless managers and business owners headaches as they try to figure out how to run their businesses effectively without all hands on deck. Employees are also affected as well, as someone will have to pick up the slack due to the absence of a coworker. Besides this, absenteeism from work is also expensive, as not only does sick pay claimed add up, but the remaining employees lose morale.
What you need to understand is that humans are not perfect; errors, frustration and burnout are inevitable factors of corporate life. It is very difficult to change how people think or perform. Individuals are only able to change their behavior if it is a personal choice, not as a result of an order that they have been given.
With traditional methods of business process improvement, most of the focus has been on business performance and delivery of customer satisfaction. Six Sigma, on the other hand, is effective in not only measuring and improving processes and measuring quality of products and services, but also focuses on the engagement and satisfaction of a powerful driver of success – people.
- Increased Morale and Employee Satisfaction
Lean Six Sigma is not just useful in reducing business costs and increasing revenue, it also has a positive effect on employees by improving their morale and making them feel that they are vital to this success.
The most successful implementations of this methodology work to build up the capacity of a business’s most important resource – people. Many studies have shown that when people feel that their contribution has a positive effect on the performance of an organization, their performance improves and it makes them more accountable for their work. In short, higher employee satisfaction means fewer sick days off.
Lean Six Sigma focuses on giving employees the tools necessary to reduce waste, achieve cost savings and lessen variations in processes. When employees develop the skills necessary to achieve these goals, they enjoy greater job satisfaction and are less likely to skip work.
- Better Engagement with Employees
In a study carried out by Right Management that involved 30,000 employees in 15 countries uncovered a strong correlation between organizational performance, employee engagement with management and workplace attendance figures.
Because Lean and Six Sigma are designed with the express purpose of improving the performance of an organization and leads to higher engagement of employees in the day-to-day processes of a company, it stands to reason that the implementation of Lean Six Sigma will lead to better employee attendance figures.
What we learn from successful implementation of Six Sigma initiatives is that they can develop employees and teach them how to take personal responsibility for their tasks and the success of the organization, and thus reduce absenteeism.
- Better Ability to Handle Work Pressures
Certain human factors that include overworking, stress and long hours doing tedious jobs contribute to absenteeism in the workplace. To stop this from happening, certain measures can be put in place, including health and wellness initiatives, mandatory vacations, hiring of more staff and control over the amount of overtime taken by employees. However, all of these increase cost to the employer.
A less costly solution to the problem is the implementation of Lean Six sigma methods within the organization, since they eliminate non-value adding or unnecessary tasks within organizational processes, thus subjecting employees to lower levels of workplace stress.
By optimizing workflow, balancing employee workload demands, decreasing process variations and increasing throughput, Lean Six Sigma allows employees to complete their tasks in time, reducing the need for overtime and lessening the chance of burnout.
Implementation of Lean Six Sigma is not the sole solution to the problem of absenteeism in the workplace. There are other solutions as well, including promotion of a positive workplace environment as well as health and wellness initiatives. However, the methodology still offers tangible benefits that directly lower absenteeism numbers for organizations that successfully adopt Six Sigma.