How to reduce employee absenteeism and enhance retention

By Robert Half on 25 January 2024

Benefits to offer as strategies to reduce employee absenteeism and enhance retention

  1. Flexible working arrangements
  2. Medical benefits
  3. Work from home options
  4. Wellness initiatives
Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes

Retaining top talent is important for all organisations, whether they’re small IT start-ups or internationally-renowned large-scale finance companies.

For hiring managers in Singapore, the job of finding and keeping the best people is increasingly challenging, with Robert Half research revealing that half of Singapore business leaders (52%) cited the number of people leaving their company in the last 12 months has increased. Further, almost one in five (17%) of Singapore workers are planning to leave their jobs in the next 12 months.

What causes employee absenteeism and staff turnover?

Business leaders are concerned about losing their top talent due to the impact of skill shortages, reduced flow of foreign talent, burnout and significant business transformation to meet changing client and consumer expectations.

Employee absenteeism can be attributed to a myriad of factors that often intersect and contribute to an individual's decision to be absent from work. In the same survey, for the Singapore workers planning on leaving their jobs this year, they cited the following work-related reasons:

  • Limited career progression opportunities
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Uncompetitive pay
  • Rising cost of living
  • Lack of flexibility
  • No employee benefits

Now, more than ever, hiring managers need to consider strategies to reduce employee absenteeism and enhance retention. Non-monetary incentives are particularly important for organisations who aren’t in a financial position to offer a higher take-home pay, but who need to reduce staff turnover and boost retention.

In this blog, find out why flexibility and work-life balance will be a key talent strategy to reduce employee absenteeism and enhance retention for hiring managers in 2024 and beyond.

Why rewarding staff is important

Ensuring that staff feel their remuneration is commensurate is a critical part of retaining your best people, as well as attracting top new talent. Robert Half research has revealed that when staff feel properly rewarded, they are happier and consistently more productive.

“Happy employees are an essential component of any thriving business as workplace morale can have a tangible impact on productivity and profitability,” says David Jones, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half Asia Pacific. “Employees who are happy in their jobs are generally more productive, engaged, creative and less likely to leave the organisation, which directly impacts the bottom line, thereby enabling companies to remain competitive.”

As the hiring market heaps up, rewarding staff also helps to improve the reputation of your organisation, ensuring it’s seen as a promising place to work, and one that is serious about securing the most capable and driven employees.

Traditional salary options aren’t everything

While rewarding staff adequately is an essential strategy to reduce employee absenteeism and enhance retention, this doesn’t mean that increased salaries are the only answer.

Robert Half research reveals that 53% of Singaporean companies have increased their salaries in the last 12 months in a bid to distinguish themselves from competitors and reward staff for their hard work through challenging conditions. By comparison, 54% of Singaporean workers say their company has given a pay rise to a select few - pointing to the ongoing bottom-line impact of challenging business conditions.

As such, hiring managers seeking to adopt strategies to reduce employee absenteeism and enhance retention should not rule out non-monetary benefits as an option. These should be offered in addition to competitive salaries and strong development opportunities.

The best non-monetary benefits of 2024

Hiring managers offering non-monetary remuneration options to new and existing staff can consider one, or a combination of the following incentives:

Flexible working arrangements

Removing the rigidity from work hours provides staff with a greater sense of trust and independence over how they manage and complete their work tasks.

Medical benefits

Employers might offer to pay a portion of their employee’s private health insurance or cover medical travel insurance for both work and personal travel.

Work from home options

This could be several designated or flexible work from home days each month, or permission to work on large scale projects from home as they arise.

Wellness Initiatives

Employers can offer physical wellbeing initiatives like gym memberships, health awareness sessions or corporate physical training sessions alongside counselling and mental health resources or financial counselling sessions.

“In order to attract the workforce of the future, companies need to diversify their remuneration offerings to focus on more than just salary, which can include tailored talent management programs and flexibility,” says David Jones.

As hiring managers, it’s important to ensure that non-salary options available to staff are relevant and meaningful. Ask yourself these four questions when determining the best options for your organisation:

  1. What are the needs of your current and future employees?
  2. How has the cross-industry shift towards improved work-life balance affected employees at your organisation?
  3. What can you offer staff to keep them at your organisation, and attract the most qualified candidates from other roles?
  4. What options are viable and sustainable?

Hiring managers should undertake thorough research and be informed about the most competitive non-monetary staff incentives, including how they can be used as effective strategies to reduce employee absenteeism and enhance retention.

When seeking to retain and hire top talent this year, hiring managers should feel confident that traditional salary options are not the only solution. While there are many ways to engage and reward staff, research and an ongoing review of

strategies will be essential to ensuring the impact of successful non-monetary incentives and packages.

Need more advice about remuneration? Download a free copy of the Robert Half Salary Guide.


More From the Blog...