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Absenteeism, just as the tem term says, refers to the failure of an employee to show up for work when he is supposed to show up at a specific place and time. Absenteeism usually leads to reduction in production and therefore any company that has high rates of absenteeism usually operates at a loss because all the time it spends lots of money by hiring temporary employees and by paying other employees’ overtime. The case study below tries to uncover how one company is trying to fight the menace of absenteeism.
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Will the incentive plan to reduce absenteeism succeed? According to me, the incentive plan that is aimed at reducing absenteeism is most likely going to succeed because it comes with some new implementations. For instance, if an employee that is chronically absent exceeds the allowed standard period, then holiday, vacation and accident/sickness pay will be reduced by ten percent through the following six months. More so, in case a worker continues to be absent until he exceeds the allowable limit then holiday, sickness and vacation pay will be reduced during the following six months by the real percentage of the six days that the chronic absentee will incur. So incase the employee misses the fifteen percent of the workdays that he is scheduled to work in the first six months, it will mean that pay for vacation for the next six month period will be reduced by ten percent. This is to mean that if the employee is to continue being absent at the fifteen percent rate then pay for vacation will be lowered by fifteen percent during the following six months.
According to me then, all these measures are very important incentives and therefore have the ability of influencing employee behavior very seriously. We are also informed in the case study that there was an agreement that was entered into ten years ago between USA motors and national union. This leaves me thinking that this could cause a great deal of resistance from the employees’ side because they will require some more time before they can adapt to the new program. Every academician knows that in any large organization change does not occur at once but it takes time gradually.
It can be clearly seen that Jack Parks is trying the best he can do to make incentives look like a small piece of the larger factor he refers to as the organizational culture. This however, is compounded by the factor that organizational culture does not change rapidly, but rather, it changes slowly. As a result therefore, it is my firm believes that the incentive plan will be successful in trying to reduce employee absenteeism though problems could be experienced in the starting initial phases.
How much absenteeism is really under the employee’s control? Firstly, absenteeism is defined as having excessive or frequent absences. I therefore think that to some extent, absenteeism is under the control of the employee. I have conducted outside researches which have been able to support my ideas that a good percentage of absenteeism from work can be avoided potentially. On the other hand though, there are some factors that cause absenteeism that are beyond the control of the employee e.g. Accidents, injuries and illnesses.
Also, not all times is the absenteeism of the employee his fault but his absenteeism could be related to the business. For example, in case an employee is not satisfied with the work he does i.e. he does not derive job satisfaction tendencies of arriving late for duties or missing shifts will be observed. Another factor that could determine this is motivation that employees do not get, which could be seen incase of huge workloads but little incentives or rewards. At times the organizations could be responsible for the illnesses, accidentsor injuries that employees sustain during work. This too, is out of employees’ control. An organization could for instance address these issues by providing and ensuring that employees work in a very healthy environment.
In case an employee was not accurately selected and therefore does not fit the position this will also not be under employees’ control. Absenteeism could also be caused by inequity in treatment of employees’ i.e. unfair treatment; unfair job placement and discrimination of any sort will pave way for absenteeism among employees. Low wages and underpayment demoralizes employees and could lead to their absenteeism. This is also out of employees’ control. As a result of this therefore, problems in communication, not addressing problems in a timely manner, failing to assign adequate resources after conducting performance and conducting evaluations could encourage absenteeism. We can therefore conclude by saying that leadership and management styles could affect absenteeism. Therefore, not all absenteeism is under the control of the employee.
Why didn’t the “paid absence” plan work? We should first define paid absence. Initially, the paid absence was meant to ensure that an employee would continue to earn even if they fell ill. Back to our question, the “paid absence” plan failed to work because of several reasons. Initially, it failed to run like it used to because workers came to realize that by failing to charge off any paid absences, they were in a position to receive pay for a full week come June when the company used to pay off the remainder of unused paid absences that were not claimed in the previous year.
Moreover, employees’ thoughts were accurate because the cash bonus usually coincided with summer holidays that some of the eight thousand hourly workers would take when USA Motors would be shut down for inventory purposes. To add on this, Jack Parks, the benefits and service manager of USA Motors learnt one other thing. Employees that had chronic absentee records had manipulated a way of charging off absences by use of the common categories like unexcused and excused absences or sick days absences. In relation to this, the employees were able to collect the money for the week of paid absences.
Through the analysis of the mentioned information, it can be understood that USA motors lacked an incentive system in place that discouraged absenteeism. According to me therefore, it was the duty of the company to discover this weakness much earlier. Unfortunately enough for the company it failed to focus on this issue and was therefore not aware of the cost of staffing that were going to waste. Eventually, absentees who were chronic did not get examined and paid absence was never standardized or limited.
What plan would you suggest to USA Motors? According to me jack parks new plan is a better one, but I would give him some more suggestions that I have in mind. For instance, it would be good for USA Motors to conduct a market research that will enable them to get better concepts and ideas on how in the industry, things are done. They need to look at other organizations and examine much more what implementations they have regarding absenteeism. They should be able to note the incentive plans that other companies use to reduce absenteeism.
The company should also collect ideas and tips from companies that provide external consultancy. After doing so, the company may now engage in conducting surveys and interviews so as to provide better incentives. It is my firm believe that USA motors would take advantage of programs that are contest incentive. According to research from outside that I have carried, contest can be designed so that they help to reach the companies objectives. The program of contest incentive can bring benefits to the company like involving teams and departments that come together to solve common problems e.g. absenteeism. As a result of that USA motors can award its employees as a way of addressing absenteeism.
This forms an important part of the incentive plan e.g. giving certificates and plaques of appreciation to the employees who stand out as not being absent from work as a tool for motivation. In summary, it can be seen that USA Motors has many alternatives which I believe that they can come up with the best mix by coming up with an incentive plan that is distinctive and special for their own organization.
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