As business across the island continue to grapple with low productivity due to absenteeism and sometimes “presenteeism”, at least one private sector company said it was taking various steps to ensure the issue did not get out of control.
Edward Bushell, labour management and industrial relations committee chairman of the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB), said absenteeism and presenteeism continued to be of major concern to them.
He said that some people were staying away from work without valid reasons in both the private and public sectors, and this continued to affect productivity.
“I am afraid the attention being given is not going so far down into the workforce that it will make a difference.
“I think the managers are not paying enough attention to it. They worry about the results but they don’t really address it before it happens or as it is happening,” said Bushell.
“The other one we talk about at length is the matter of presenteeism, where people show up for work . . . but they do not produce anything that day. Sometimes there could be a reason for that but sometimes they just come to work and decide not to produce.
“The problem is that when the person is absent, you can deal with the instance, but if somebody is present, you don’t know that you are not getting any productivity from them until it’s too late – then you can’t do anything about it,” Bushell explained.
Meanwhile, KPMG human resource manager Cheryl Fitzpatrick-Payne told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that it was taking proactive steps in that company to nip the problem in the bud.
“Absenteeism is always a problem for any organization. This is something we take very seriously.
“We have various programmes in place and one of them involves calling in to work early if you know you are not going to be in. But if this happens often, we would speak to the individual before it gets too bad.
“There is also the issue of tardiness and long lunch hours, which we deal with from early,” she said.
As for presenteeism, Fitzpatrick-Payne said: “We realize people could be at work but are doing other things. It we notice this, we speak with them immediately.
“But if it is a repeated problem, human resources will get involved with the supervisor and deal with that individual.”
HRMAB said they have been trying to deal with the problem over the years by hosting workshops and sessions and conducting surveys, but, said Bushell, every company must “translate the talk into action”.