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More dialogue with employees needed

The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Association of Barbados is suggesting employers adopt positions of greater dialogue when faced with absenteeism issues.

Speaking in her capacity as Assistant General Secretary of CTUSAB, Mona Robinson, said this morning during a panel discussion that absenteeism or tardiness signalled the need for serious dialogue between worker and employer.

“It is only through dialogue that an analysis of the problem can be made,” Robinson submitted to the discussion organised by the Human Resources Management Association of Barbados.

“I think it is critical to speak with individual employees on a face-to-face basis, versus making general statements at a staff meeting as to their reasons for being absent or late.

“It is only as this approach is used, that the employer (or his or her designates) will have a feel for how to address the issues,” suggested Robinson.

She listed too, a number of specific steps which could be taken by employers to tackle absenteeism, including getting to know the workers’ by way of understanding their talents and strengths.

“Make them feel valued for who they are,” the CTUSAB assistant general secretary suggested. “Give positive feedback immediately and often.”

She recommended that business leaders also give employees a clear picture of how excellence looks.

“Point out and showcase other employees who are operating excellently,” continued Robinson.

She also asked employers to share the non-financial reasons for their goals.

“Too many employers are profit driven,” asserted the trade unionist. Robinson is also urging business owners to show why the employee is key in the scheme of things.

“Create conditions for a pleasant, and dare I say, fun, as in less tension filled environment,” stated Robinson, who is also General Secretary of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union. She proposed a well established policy, with enforced disciplinary consequences.

“It must be clear to staff what is expected of them, and what will happen if those expectations are not met,” she added.

Robinson said she wanted employers too, to be flexible regarding a worker’s inability to get to work.

“Is there is problem with transport availability. Can the person work from home and come in later. Is a shift system possible. Can an employee have a child brought to work so they don’t need to be absent. Are the attendance policies reflecting the realities of your business or staff?” Robinson queried. (EJ)

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