This is one problem any organization’s HR is likely to face – having to deal with employees who keep falling sick frequently, as a result of which they need to keep taking off work every now and then. When the illness is of a long-term, crippling nature; it certainly calls for a collective and holistic approach from the organization. However, it is the employees who fall sick with relatively simpler ailments and need to take off work frequently that need to be handled differently.
Understand the ailment first
As with every problematic situation; HR needs to go into the root of the problem. If HR observes an employee being prone to attacks of cold often; it could handle the situation with care and professionalism by taking the employee for a medical checkup. If it is discovered that the employee has an allergy for a particular item in the office, which is the trigger for the cold; the answer is simple. HR has to make arrangements to shift such an employee to a workstation in which this trigger is not present.
There are a few conditions that get triggered by stress. Although most such conditions and ailments are not fully understood; it helps to take steps to alleviate stress. What HR can do in the case of such an employee is to give him or her, the reassurance that HR is there to help. Since yoga is universally acknowledged as a very powerful stress-buster; HR can think of ways by which it can conduct yoga classes at the workplace.
Employees who take off from work frequently because of sickness tend to take the organization backwards, albeit without any bad intent. For HR, it is not a wise decision to treat such employees harshly with drastic actions such as terminations. This is because when these employees are not sick, they are generally productive. Many such employees are good at work; so, that makes it all the more obligatory for HR to take steps to address their health issues and retain them.
Till such time that such employees are back on track; HR can hire extra staff to cushion the pressure of work caused by a few employees’ absence. This is a little expensive, but then, it is a small price to pay for the benefit of the employee and the organization. A few ailments may take their time to set right; but when HR can come up with alternatives for dealing with such employees, it is better to act effectively and swiftly.
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