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Introduction to Industrial Relations 

Executive Summary on Issue of Absenteeism in NU-Mart Employees

The purpose of this executive summary is to provide an overview of the report made to deal with the issue of absenteeism in NU-mart employees. To deal with this issue, various approaches have been discussed in the report that can control absenteeism and restore the revenue profit of the mart. It also deals with various methods like employee survey, in-person discussion and Union assistance in collecting information to determine the root cause of the issue. Furthermore, 2 major causes of the issue are also discussed in the report. Finally, possible remedies to deal with the issue and their effective implementations have also been discussed.

Introduction to Absenteeism

Absenteeism refers to an employee's normal non-presence at their work. Usual non-presence goes to what is considered an appropriate environment for valid purposes, such as planned holidays, occasional sickness and family emergencies, within a few days of the workplace. This report includes ways to collect information from employees to determine the possible causes of absenteeism at NU-mart. Furthermore, two possible issues causing the absenteeism problem is also discussed in this report, along with the methods that can be used to deal with the problem and proper execution to achieve maximum success.

Ways to Determine the Root Cause

The first thing that begins is to consider the problem (Kaleta, 2003). Before the magnitude of the issue is established, a remedy cannot be determined. The absence data needs to be collected to determine the cause of absenteeism problem. Then the next step is to define the root causes of absenteeism (Poirier, 2003). Finally, Henry needs to set up an action strategy. There are many ways to collect information and establish the causes of absenteeism problem at the workplace. According to the most effective way to determine the underlying cause for employee absenteeism at the workplace is to survey all the employees asking them to express their grievances about the issues faced by them at the workplace (Magee et al. 2017).

a) Employee survey: The first step to determine the possible causes behind absenteeism can be to conduct an employee survey. It can help in gathering information and understanding various perspectives of all employees in regards to factors that can cause absenteeism at the workplace. This can be conducted by either an online survey or internally within the workplace. All the employees at NU-mart should be a part of this survey. This survey will help in finding the root cause of the problem.

b) In-person discussion: Discussing the matter with the employees in person can be another effective way to collect information and determine the cause of absenteeism. This can be achieved by having an in-person meeting with all the employees to deliberate and conclude the causes of absenteeism. It will also help in understanding the nature of the problem as to whether the problem is temporary or persistence in nature. In addition to this, it will also benefit in knowing whether the cause is effecting every employee or just one specific group (Einarsen et al. 2016).

c) Seek Union’s assistance: Another way to determine possible causes of absenteeism is to discusses the matter with employee union and seek their opinion and assistance in the matter. It will also be beneficial to know the influence of various Union has on the employees. Moreover, Union citizenship which helps individual members will serve as an employee speech device. Previous studies showed that union allegiance was a significant driving factor. Within these places of employment where employees were more loyal to their association, they were often more keen to take time to support others through their employment conflicts (Deery, Iverson, Buttigieg & Zatzick 2013).

Possible Causes for Absenteeism

There are various causes for absenteeism at the workplace (Wahid, Satter, Al Imran & Bhuiyan 2019).

a) Workplace harassment and bullying

Occupational tension adversely impacts the productivity of workers (Campbell, 2015). Bullying at work, described as prolonged, repetitive exposure to other employees to negative and irrational behaviour (Einarsen, Hoel, & Notelaers 2009). Workplace bullying and harassment are one of the major reasons for absenteeism in the workplace. Absenteeism is the key cause of losing efficiency in the workplace (Johns, 2008). In Australia, for instance, absenteeism has been estimated to cost 44 billion AUD a year to organizations (Australian Industry Group, 2015). Workplace bullying can also be built as a barrier demand. Since it is a stressor that causes negative emotions, it impedes personal continued growth and encourages retirement actions (Einarsen, Skogstad, Rørvik, Lande, & Nielsen, 2016).

b) Burnout, stress and low morale at the workplace

Another possible cause for absenteeism is that employees can be burnout, stress or low morale at the workplace. There are various sources of tension or tension that can be seen anywhere at work. Stressors may include unsafe working conditions, long hours, workplace health issues and tedium. Constant stress may result in poor mental health, heart problems, backache and stroke. This may also add to harmful habits such as alcohol and nicotine. All this leads to lower workplace morale and reduced efficiency due to inadequate results. The eventual outcome may be a workplace burnout when the employee has little strength left to give, is depressed, frustrated and has very poor resistance to disease.

Possible Solutions to Remedy Employee Absenteeism

As previously mentioned, there are several causes for employee absenteeism. As a consequence, there are several different ways of addressing and alleviating the problem. The best approach to remediate the problem relies on how Mr Henry wants to focus on the energy and resources of the NU-mart. To address problems like this, Henry can opt for any of the following ways or a combination there of:

a) Workplace assistance program: Workplace assistance programs may be introduced to help employees address the problems outside the workspace. The organization will have to concentrate its resources on non-work related problems when coping with the issue of absenteeism. Henry can provide the staff with external service contact information for guidance. The aim is to reduce the impact on the worker of problems like parenting and marital issues (Quinley 2003). However, Workplace assistance programs are expensive and are also difficult to track their utility.

This is largely due to concerns of privacy, but studies show that other employers support this method (Jinnett, Schwatka, Tenney, Brockbank & Newman 2017). Constant reminders of the program should be given to workers as an excellent way to increase their earnings. Staff should be recommended in circumstances where they may benefit from the use of the program. Henry can publish the program as a workplace bonus. In addition, encouraging workers to dissipate their feelings about something that triggers their frustration, anxiety, sickness, etc. would increase efficiency and performance, which will help the NU-mart to save money from decreased absences and to raise revenue from improved productivity.

b) Incentives: In the corporate sector, workplace compensation schemes to help minimize absenteeism have long been used. This style of the method is referred to as the carrot approach instead of the stick approach. Incentives may be given in different ways. Most of the employees at NU-mart are part-time workers, the mart can give full-attendance incentives. This can motivate the employees to come to work for the extra money. Furthermore, incentives can be given on the quantity of work being done by the employees. This can encourage the staff to give high productivity which will be beneficial for the organization as well. This can be costly for the mart but studies show that organizations that have opted for this approach have seen smooth functioning and motivated employees (Shrestha, Pedisic, Neil-Sztramko, Kukkonen-Harjula & Hermans 2016).

c) Union assistance/collaboration: Union members are workers of corporations and organizations, and their citizenship actions can improve or hinder the good working conditions in the workforce. Union-supportive actions may emphasize opposing interests between parties or that the arbitrariness of corporate decision-making and assist in creating a better workplace organization system. Union memberships can be seen as a communication tool on the workplace and, particularly when they relate to exit behaviour, can have positive organizational impacts (Deery, Iverson, Buttigieg & Zatzick 2013). Henry can seek the help of an employee union such as SAD for assistance in solving the issues that are causing absenteeism at the workplace. The union member of NU-mart can discuss the issues with the non-members and together with the mart management, this issue can be resolved.

Conclusion on Absenteeism in NU-Mart Employees

As each organization is different, various forms of research will be needed to determine the factors influencing absenteeism for NU-mart. If absenteeism is recognized as a major issue, the organization needs to look closely at the root of the problem and explore methods to recover lost revenue. Additionally, with the economy tightening and the associated financial burden increase for most workers, the absenteeism of staff due to work-related problems is very likely to increase. The more NU-mart is aware of problems relating to staff absenteeism, the more effective it would be in implementing measures to reduce associated costs and improve productivity.

References for Industrial Relations Report

Australian Industry Group. (2015). Absenteeism and presenteeism survey report 2015. Melbourne, Australia: Australian Industry Group.

Deery, S. J., Iverson, R. D., Buttigieg, D. M., & Zatzick, C. D. (2013). Can Union Voice Make a Difference? The Effect of Union Citizenship Behavior on Employee Absence. Human Resource Management, 53(2), 211–228. doi:10.1002/hrm.21549

Einarsen, S., Hoel, H., & Notelaers, G. (2009). Measuring exposure to bullying and harassment at work: Validity, factor structure and psychometric properties of the Negative Acts Questionnaire‐Revised. Work and Stress, 23(1), 24–44.

Einarsen, S., Skogstad, A., Rørvik, E., Lande, A. B., & Nielsen, M. B. (2016). Climate for conflict management, exposure to workplace bullying and work engagement: A moderated mediation analysis. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 29(3), 549-570

Jinnett, K., Schwatka, N., Tenney, L., Brockbank, C. & Newman, L. (2017). Chronic conditions, workplace safety, and job demands contribute to absenteeism and job performance. Journal of Health Affairs, 36(2), 237-244.

Johns, G. (2008). Absenteeism and presenteeism: Not at work or not working well. In J. Barling, & C. L. Cooper (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of organizational behavior (Vol. 1) (pp. 160–177). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Kocakulah, M., Kelley, A., Mitchell, K. & Ruggieri, M. (2016). Absenteeism problems and costs: Causes, effects and cures. International Business & Economics Research Journal (IBER), 8(5), 81-88.

Magee, C., Gordon, R., Robinson, L., Caputi, P., & Oades, L. (2017). Workplace bullying and absenteeism: The mediating roles of poor health and work engagement. Human Resource Management Journal, 27(3), 319–334. doi:10.1111/1748-8583.12156

Shrestha, N., Pedisic, Z., Neil-Sztramko, S., Kukkonen-Harjula, K. T., & Hermans, V. (2016). The impact of obesity in the workplace: a review of contributing factors, consequences and potential solutions. Current Obesity Reports, 5(3), 344–360 doi:10.1007/s13679-016-0227-6

Wahid, Z., Satter, A. Z., Al Imran, A., & Bhuiyan, T. (2019). Predicting absenteeism at work using tree-based learners. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Machine Learning and Soft Computing (pp. 7-11).

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