The article article started off with this:
If you are an emloyer or a manager, chances are that workplace absence is costing you money and inconvenience and upsetting your customers.
- >> Does it really cost money and convenience? Yes, it not just applies to the private sector, but more so in the school scenario! That reminded me of the days when I was in-charge of making arrangement for teachers to relieve classes when colleagues could not come to school - commonly, sick leave, childcare leave, of course, there are also those who are on course. Yes, all these, if we want to calculate in dollars and cents, it costs a lot.
- >> Rate of relief teacher can range from around $100 to almost $300, depending on their qualification and experience! On the other hand, when it comes to ad-hoc instances, students' learning are interrupted.
- >> Still remember, some colleagues' days to go on medical leave became so predictable! In some days, I do question (in my heart) - Is that genuine case or not? Is that so serious? Are your pupils' learning at stake? For pupils, teachers would call the clinic to check when there are observable patterns. For teachers? Professionalism and integrity are being questioned if we are to go to that extent.
- >> In fact, heard from an ex-colleague that now the school has started the "TOP 10" chart to chart and track teachers' absence - one interesting observation - one of the teachers, no matter include or exclude her maternity leave, she still tops the chart... If I recall correctly, she has been on the top 10 since those days I manage the relief duty arrangement - Wow! She has been very 'consistent'... hahaha...
- >> As of those who attended course, definitely, their absence is more costly than others - on top of their course fee, there's also the money pump into getting relief teachers to take over their duty. No wonder training has to be taken very seriously, especially in schools! So far, I think teachers who signed for up workshops will dutifully attend the training.
- >> The other day, one of the current colleagues who previously worked in another Ministry many years back (in her first career) shared that they usually attend the workshop in groups and will 'disappear' after the lunch to gain free time for themselves. I was totally shocked!!! Where's your integrity? I start to wonder... What's your professionalism? I start to doubt... As an adult, what's right? what's not right?... I start to question (or should I say, I start to look out for...) your value...
It further said:
- If people are happy at work, then they are less likely to take a day off every time they wake up with a stuffy nose.
- Really? I wonder.... There's another group - People who have no choice, too...
- OK, look at a case whereby one is more sick than a stuffy nose... In an event that one has to go on medical leave, can the outstanding job be delayed or taken over by another person would be another determining factor to go on leave for that day or not.
- A friend who's working at NIE now shared that she would not be able to go on leave even when she's not well - because there are more than 300 in a lecture theatre waiting for you! One could not just cancel or postpone the lecture in this manner.
- Another friend who worked in a polytechnic in the past shared that unless one has made prior arrangement with the team to cover each other... otherwise, she still have to turn up - "75% attendance" is something at will be at the back of her mind. Moreover, to do a make-up session with a large group is very very different from a tutorial group.
- I think, this now applies to my current job, too. Although on one hand, we have been reminded that the co-trainer has to know what the training is about and to be prepared, I just wonder... one still have to assess the situation very carefully - is the co-trainer ready to deliver... it's not a matter of an individual's performance (if don't do well this time, can try again), but I think the reaction / perception / impression the stakeholders have on the workshop delivered by the section will be more crucial.
- Do I have colleagues who show symptoms described in the article? Yes, I think... Is it something to do with the 'weather' here? Someone jokingly said, we started to sense the globalwarming effect here... Oops! El Nino and La Nina effects?
The article also touches on
- Pick the right person. This is not enough... but also to find out... what makes them happy, how well they get on with others and how much energy and enthusiasm they have. Make sure they know what they are getting into, and be sure the job suits them!
- Believe in your people. Demonstrate through... words, tone of voice and body language. It says, If you believe that your people are not to be trusted, are unable to make decisions and will turn up late and go home early, then that is exactly what they will do. So, is this the "self-fulfilling prophecy and make-belief" that will influence the 'subjects' to make it happens? Definitely, this is going to generate more negative effects as the time goes...
- Give feedback. It says, most employees want to know how they are performing in their job - they want to know if they are doing it right or how they can do it better. It says, If your really want to motivate your people, give them feedback on what they are doing well and what needs improvement. Why I underline "doing well"? Because, I think this is something really lacking in the working environment - except in stories like Fish... and many of us forget - feedback can be positive, too!