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How to Combat Absenteeism Without Much Actual Effort

ferris.jpgA while back, we cited research that suggests companies should adopt a less rigid approach to handling absenteeism since juggling work and life responsibilities can be challenging. General Motors agrees work/life balance programs are important -- for salaried employees, that is -- but thinks harsh measures are necessary to combat the industry-wide absenteeism issue that's hurting its bottom line.

As of January 1st, GM will require detailed proof of illness -- like a prescription slip or medical test results -- if an employee wants to call in sick. Employees who continue to miss work can expect consequences ranging from a simple verbal warning to termination. On the flip side, the company's offering a new incentive to show up more often. Workers with perfect attendance for a year will be entered into a drawing to win $15,000 toward a GM vehicle.

So if you make it in every day you just might win a discounted car. And if you call in sick with an illness that doesn't require immediate medical attention (which is common for older adults, as many GM employees are), you just may lose your job.

GM could offer all the incentives in the world, but if morale is low because employees think they're undercompensated and/or fear for their job security, they will use all their sick days -- whether they're ill or not -- just because they feel entitled to them. Employees won't act with integrity if they believe their company doesn't lead by example. Even if a partially-paid-for car is on the line.

(Ferris Bueller image courtesy of mikefats, cc 2.0)