The truth about absenteeism at work

It’s a well-known fact that absenteeism affects businesses bottom lines. As an employer you can expect that employees will miss some workdays throughout the year for very genuine reasons,  absenteeism is a chronic problem where an employee continually misses work for inappropriate reasons. Absenteeism can also affect teams in business, can you spot the difference between normal levels of absence from chronic levels which could indicate a bigger problem?

Common reasons for absenteeism:

  • Bullying and harassment
  • Burnout, stress and low morale
  • Childcare and elder care
  • Depression – This is the leading cause of absenteeism in the USA.
  • Disengagement
  • Illness and injury – offered cited as the reason for absence but not always the case!
  • Partial shifts – Often overlooked: Arriving late, leaving early and taking longer breaks than allowed are considered forms of absenteeism and can affect productivity and workplace morale.

The true cost of absenteeism in the workplace

According to an article in Sky News figures released by PricewaterhouseCoopers “show that Brits bunk off nearly twice as much as workers in the US.”

The average worker has 10 unscheduled days off work per year and absenteeism costs the UK a staggering £32bn each year….The UK number is also twice as high compared to Asia-Pacific, where workers take 4.5 days off.

The article goes on to say:

PwC’s analysis suggests that more flexible labour laws in the US and Asia could be a reason for workers being more committed there.

Richard Phelps, HR consulting partner at PwC, said: “For a variety of reasons, there seems to be a hunger among workers in US and Asia to go the extra mile.”

“With sickness accounting for the lion’s share of absence, the question for employers is what can be done to improve health, morale and motivation.”

We clearly have a huge problem in the UK and it is costing UK businesses money, what can you do as an employer to improve the health, morale and motivation of your workforce?

Employers really need to be proactive in the modern workplace. Businesses that employ wellness strategies which take into account employee health concerns such as, Physical health, Psychological health, Work-home balance, Environmental health and Economic health have a net positive effect on a company’s bottom line – and that’s good for business.corporate wellness

Healthier, happier employees will be more able and motivated to go to work each day, resulting in increased productivity and higher moral for the individual workers as well as the entire team.

When wellness and health are actively promoted an employee is 2.5 times more likely to see you as a best performer with their levels of engagement to increase by eight times. (Source World Economic Forum)

This is a problem you can’t continue to ignore!  Visit my new website for more information. Please download my “Top 10 Tips on Transformation” at the website!





How to build morale in your team?

There are many factors that can affect the morale of a team, if you are in a leadership position it’s vital that you recognise the level of morale. As a leader if you want a team to perform it’s your responsibility to inspire and lead your team to create a productive environment.

According to sociologist Alexander Leighton, “morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.” – See more

You might not be able to measure morale as such but teams with high morale have low turnover of staff, low sickness rates, high productivity, high levels of staff engagement, all of which can be measured.  These will directly affect the profitability of your business so I urge you to pay attention to team morale!

Happy team

Ways to boost morale

  1. The first step begins with you as the leader. You have to inspire your team if you have the attitude that employees are easy to replace or people should be grateful for their position you will not recognise the signs of low morale. You must recognise the value of your employees!
  2. Mix it up! Being stuck in the same routine day after day gets boring for you and your team. Find ways to change the day-to-day grind. If you always have a meeting in a boardroom, go out for lunch instead. Find ways to make life more pleasant in general for employees, could you offer flexible schedules, work from home schedules, gym memberships etc ?
  3. Understand that the work environment can greatly affect employee morale. Ask your employees what they would like to improve and make it happen
  4. Recognise the special events in employee’s lives. Birthdays, weddings, births, the accomplishments of employee children—if you have a reason to celebrate, do it!
  5. Open, 2 way communication is a must. Communication is often one of the biggest challenges in business, you must encourage the lines of communication between management and the team. Employees what to feel important and have their ideas and opinions listened to, likewise the want to be trusted with important company data and business decisions. Most employees in the workforce want to work for a company they can trust and believe in!
  6. Invite in local experts. Find out what interests your employees have outside of the work environment and perhaps once a month invite in an expert to give an hours talk or class. Provide lunch and refreshments, make it fun! It could be a Zumba class, a gardening hour, personal trainer, massage therapist, whatever the subject it gives a break from the routine.
  7. Train employees to develop positive attitudes. Mindset makes the difference in business, one negative mindset can affect the moral of the whole team. Invest in your team with training days, workshops, coaching, whatever is suitable for your business.  Understanding each others different perspectives will go along way in boosting morale and reducing conflict. To truly  reach the top your team needs to shed its limiting beliefs and embrace opportunities to shine.
  8. Saving the best till last, above all HAVE FUN! You don’t have to dress in a clown’s costume, but you can promote a feeling of happiness and satisfaction in the workplace. Go out and talk to your employees. Smile. Recognize what they do, for without them, you wouldn’t have a business to start with.

What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.”

—Zig Ziglar


Visit my website for more information; get the right mindset and lead the transformation!

Managing, Ownership and Leadership of change in the workplace

Ownership and Leadership of Change

Leadership and ownership is not so much about technique and methods, as it is about opening the heart. It’s about inspiration– of oneself and others.

It’s about human experiences, not processes. It’s not a formula or a program, it’s about human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others…

It’s an attitude, not a system.change leadership


The Reality

More and more is being demanded and change needs embracing by the workforce. To remain relevant as a business you must regularly redefine your way of operating, your product/service offerings. Does the workforce have the confidence, experience, and commitment to change?

Ownership AND Responsibility is needed, but what makes people choose to take this? Leaders need to engage the workforce so they decide to make the choices we need them to!

  • These days there is more awareness of personal needs, searching for meaning and a sense of purpose.
  • Often the amount of genuine heartfelt connection is missing, with reductions of ‘emotional investment’- The Job is the job attitude.

What’s needed now?

  1. Character
  2. Vision
  3. Drive
  4. Presence and Confidence


Common Issues preventing change

  • Leaders lack an understanding of their impact on those they lead
  • Lack of clarity in terms of how to behave in different situations
  • Take a ‘silo’ approach and not think team
  • Avoid or don’t care enough to have the tough conversations
  • High levels of workplace stress leading to a lack of trust and emotional connection
  • Lack of ownership
  • Revert back to Managing rather than Leading

Ingredients to Success

  • Giving consideration before any actions
  • Knowing what is important and what motivates people
  • Knowing or sensing what reactions will be
  • Tailoring the approach
  • Consistency




  1. Always look at Change with a Positive approach.
  2. As soon as you embrace change, you take back responsibility and your energy returns (you are in control!)
  3. Take your time to plan and think about what’s the best outcome/solution.
  4. Success in leading others thru change is dependent on your own behaviour. Be the Role model with the best attitude.
  5. Your attitude reflects your altitude!
  6. You will build a strong, connected and committed team, if you learn the ‘flexibility to adapt’- they will be empowered not scared!
  7. See it as an opportunity to learn new things/meet new people.
  8. Create change in ‘bite sized chunks’ (easier for people to adopt)
  9. Help people to re-draw they ‘mental maps’ – by building a future of better expectations.
  10. Have good clear open honest communication between everyone and feedback.
  11. What you focus on you get!
  12. Celebrate all successes (small wins too!) along the ‘change’ journey!

What creates high performance teams?

‘What creates high performance teams?’ – I often get asked this question but there is not a proven formula: if you do a + b + c = ‘a high performance team’. Teams are dynamic, calling a group of assembled people a team does not make them one. Telling employees they need to collaborate does not translate into collaboration. Teams do not just happen naturally. Successful teams have great leadership and a shared vision:

“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centred and that gives their work meaning.”
– Warren G. Bennis (Have a look at ‘What makes a great leader?”)

Great leaders inspire us!great leaders

  • Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. It’s about inspiration of oneself and others.
  • It’s about human experiences, not processes. It’s not a formula or a program, it’s about human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others…
  •   It’s an attitude, not a system:
    • They want to see their people shine
    • They care about them to want them to achieve the best they can
    • They have strong beliefs that drive them to do things really well
    • They understand the truth about ‘tough love’ – it’s  a sign of real respect
    • They want to enjoy their work 

We can look at the characteristics of successful teams to guide us:

Strong focus on long-term achievement: the whole team’s energy and drive is focused on achieving the overall “big picture” i.e. what the organisation is aiming to achieve in the longer term and there is a clear understanding of how the team will achieve this goal in the short, medium and long-term.

Clearly aligned team roles: each team member has clearly defined responsibilities for team issues as well as their own functional role or specialism, and these team roles are assigned based on their strengths and preferred behaviours for working within a team. For example, a team member within the sales function may take on responsibility for liaison with customer service on behalf of the whole sales team as they enjoy networking with others and are good at building strong working relationships. Above all, in a high performance team, every team member is very clear of who has responsibility for which task.

Shared leadership: although the leader of the team clearly holds the vital leadership role, in a high performing team, team members complete some tasks that a traditional leader holds, for example, chairing the monthly team meeting. Team members also accept far more responsibility for resolving issues on behalf of the team when there is a sense of shared leadership and ownership for the business.

Clear open lines of communication: within high performing teams, foundations are not only in place for team members at all levels within the organisation to ask questions and provide feedback on how the organisation is performing, but also simple methodology for team members to share ideas and propose potential solutions to growing the business or increasing the effectiveness of the organisation’s systems and processes. Whatever system used for this, the key is to ensure that there is a quick method for providing feedback to the team member after submitting their question, feedback, idea or suggestion. An “open door” policy along with regular team meetings and feedback sessions with senior managers also supports this approach as its face-to-face two-way communication that wins hearts and minds not notice boards and emails!

Utilisation of team members’ talents: Playing to your strengths is key if you wish to be successful. The same applies to teams. Leaders of high performance teams recognise this and ensure they are aware of all the team member’s talents inside and outside work and continuously look for ways to utilise these to benefit the organisation and its people.

Regular evaluation of the team’s output and effectiveness: High performing teams schedule and spend time frequently reviewing their team objectives to ensure they are on track to achieve their goals within the original time frame set. By doing this they are also able to effectively manage any difficulties that arise and plan additional resource to achieve the goal. In this type of environment, team members are very clear on their responsibility to deliver results whilst feeling supported by other team members when challenges and issues arise. Time is also set aside to review the effectiveness of each goal or project to ensure sufficient learning is acquired and applied for future goals and projects.

Shared recognition of team’s success: At appropriate and relevant times such as the end of a large project, winning of a new contract etc, the leader of a high performance team will arrange for the team’s work to be recognised in the most appropriate way. This could be, but not limited to, internal or external publicity, nomination for an internal award, a “thank you” meal, a personal “thank you” at the team meeting, an email copied into the senior leaders of the organisation. Whatever the method chosen, it should be relevant to the level of achievement, how teams are rewarded throughout the organisation, and above all, pertinent to what really motivates and inspires the team members to produce outstanding results in their next piece of work. Each team member may be different in terms of what motivates them; so taking time to learn about what motivates your team members will ensure you get this recognition stage right.


References and further reading on High Performance Teams: 

Thanks to KSL Training for permission to use the above content. KSL Training  is a West Berkshire based training provider which operates across the UK.

Read more:


Please help me in 2013 and answer the following question in the comments below, I will be collecting your answers!
What phrases do you use to make people feel more comfortable, motivated, and appreciated?