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Unused Vacation Time Increasing – Are you home for the holidays?

A Harris Survey covered in the LA Times  found that by the end of 2012, Americans will leave an average of 9.2 days of vacation unused, up from the average of 6.2 days in 2011.  Hopefully as the holidays loom, you’ll be planning some downtime and not risking your vacation carryover.  Research on holiday time off plans we did a few years ago indicated that most employees planned to take time during the December holiday period.

Here are a few other items this week related to workplace productivity during the holidays:

Worker productivity ‘wrecked’ over the holidays

Study identifies strategies for workplace productivity during the holiday season (Video) via @examinercom

Ten Top Tips: Dealing with Persistent Absenteeism:

13 Great Employee Holiday Incentives That Are Better Than Cash via @blogging4jobs

Other stories of note this week:

4 Hiring Lessons from the Best Cities for Millennials:

Corporate America: Don’t Give Up On Your Workers:

Fatigue Is Your Enemy via @HarvardBiz

Sometimes, it Takes a Hurricane to Know What Engagement Looks Like via @TLNT_com

GRATEFUL LEADERSHIP: A Little Praise Goes A Long Way via @blogging4jobs

Culture: Here’s Why It Matters Now More Than Ever Before @TLNT_com

HR and Leadership – A Complaint Letter From a 25-Year old via @hrbartender

Kronos News:

RT @pjtec: Published: #KronosWorks 2012 — #Kronos Hitting on all Cylinders @KronosInc #HCM #WFM #EnSW

Kronos HR head David Almeda quoted in Obamacare Carries On … What’s Next?

RT @ChelmsfordPatch: News from @KronosInc , Courier Corporation

RT @NucleusResearch: @KronosInc showed its commitment to innovation in traditional & emerging markets @#KronosWorks12

Absence and Employee Disengagement – What’s the Connection? via @simonmacpherson @KronosUK

Just Another Cyber Monday? via @smartercafe

Help me help you upgrade via @smartercafe

Some Assembly Required via @smartercafe

Not all Luck via @smartercafe

New Time Well Spent #Cartoon: #scheduling #shifttrade

Is Hiring Vintage Workers the Solution to Your Skill Gaps?

Sharon Emek is a woman on a mission.  After a long and illustrious career in the insurance industry, she’s founded WAHVE (work at home vintage employees) to fill the skill gaps created for insurers by the retirement of their baby boomer (average age 57) employees.  According to Sharon, WAHVE is the only remote outsourced staffing alternative to offshoring for insurance agents, brokers and insurers.  WAHVE matches insurers with employees who can  provide full back-office and customer service, project, and consulting work.  And what’s unique about the employees she contracts to these insurers?  They are experienced (typically >25 years) insurance professionals who’ve reached the stage in life where they still want to work, but desire more flexibility than can be afforded by full time employment.

Many of these retirees wish to continue working, but also require flexibility to downshift, enjoy the grandchildren, care for aging parents of their own, or spend more time pursuing interests they didn’t have the time or means for when they were younger.  Their departure, however, is creating challenges for their former employers.  WAHVE serves a matching service between retirees and organizations that can benefit from their services, creating a win-win for both parties.

Tune in to our podcast conversation to hear from Sharon about why hiring vintage workers may be the wahve of the future (pun intended): Sharon Emek Wahve Podcast

Learn more about how Wahve matches retired jobseekers and employers at their website:

Guest Blog Post from #hrbartender – Absenteeism is a Global Business Problem

Today’s guest post is courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby, The HR Bartender.  I met Sharlyn at KronosWorks last week in Las Vegas, where we had the opportunity to get to know each other a bit.  As Sharlyn notes below, and we’ve written about before, absenteeism is a significant and costly business issue around the globe.

During last week’s KronosWorks2012 event, I had the opportunity to hear the latest data on absenteeism in the government and education sectors.  The data, presented by the Governing Institute and Center for Digital Education, puts the cost of public sector absenteeism in the billions (yes, that’s billions with a “b”).

And part of that cost isn’t just the benefits paid or the lost productivity. It’s the cost of actually keeping track of employee absences. The Governing Institute and Center for Digital Education says that 52% of organizations rely upon a manual time and attendance system. They figure the average manager spends 1.5 hours per week focused on managing time and attendance.

Using that 1.5 number, let’s say the average manager makes $20/hour. That means the estimated national annual cost for managing absenteeism (just the managing part) comes to over $880 million in the government sector and close to $2 billion in the education sector. I don’t need to tell anyone that’s a lot of money.

But as I was listening to the session, it occurred to me that the challenges with absenteeism in the public sector aren’t exclusive to their industry. They’re evident in every industry. For example, take my background in hospitality…managers were always dealing with an employee absenteeism issue. Now magnify that to the ten or twenty managers in the company. We’d have ten or twenty absenteeism issues. All costing the company money.

To illustrate my point, I wanted to do some more digging on the subject and ran across The Kronos Global Absence survey. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll check it out. It confirmed that absenteeism is a global issue and shared the extent we’re all in this together.

For example, the country with the largest percentage of employees calling in sick when they’re really not is, of course, China at 71%. It only makes sense since the population is so large. But that really doesn’t explain Australia with 58%, Canada with 52% and the United Kingdom with 43%. BTW – the United States came in at 52%. The best country? France at 16%.

Why do employees call in sick when they’re not? Top reasons include stress and too much work.

What would prevent them for calling in sick?! You guessed it – flexible work schedules.

So we can see the direct path between flexible work, engagement and productivity. The absenteeism challenge extends far beyond one industry and one country. And the solutions are consistent between industries and countries as well.

If you’re wondering about the time spent tracking time and attendance, the numbers appear consistent. Only half of employers are using an automated system. That means managers spend a lot of time manually monitoring their employee’s time.

It makes me wonder. If companies are having challenges with employee absenteeism. And the answer is creating a more engaged workforce to increase productivity. Then it only seems logical to make sure that managers spend their time on activities that will create engagement (not on administrative tasks).

Fixing absenteeism is a manager’s problem. But they can’t fix it if they’re bogged down in administrivia. Free up managers time so they can do what brings the most value to the organization.

What do managers do at your organization to manage unplanned absenteeism?