Why Your Employees Are Absent

September 21, 2018 / Ariana Biedebach

Absenteeism within organizations is of the utmost importance when looking at productivity. Companies that suffer from high absenteeism can suffer tremendous losses in productivity. Employee engagement initiatives have been seen as a key way to curb this epidemic, but how do the two relate? Burton, Chen, & Schultz (2017) set out to find the connection between employee engagement, employee health, and productivity. The results determined that the highest engaged employees had significantly fewer health risk factors and rates of absenteeism compared to those in the mid level and low engagement categories.  Overall, the study indicates that investment in employee engagement initiatives have a positive and direct effect on employee productivity.

What this means for managers:

High levels of employee engagement throughout an organization has a direct impact on the health of employees, but the benefits of investing in engagement does not stop at the employee level.  As we have seen through this study, having a highly engaged staff can save firms productivity losses from absenteeism. Organizations looking to boost productivity while cracking down on high rates of employee absence should take a hard look at their engagement levels. If there is room for improvement in this area, then more investment would benefit the company, the employee, and the consumer.

Thanks for reading,

Ariana Biedebach, Operations


Burton, W. N., Chen, C., Li, X., & Schultz, A. B. (2017). The association of employee engagement at work with health risks and presenteeism. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(10), 988-992.