The selected organization is General Motors which is popularly referred to as GM a leading company in the automobile industry. The company is based in the United States with its headquarters being based in Detroit, Michigan. GM is generally concerned with the manufacture of trucks and cars in over thirty four countries in addition to offering motor vehicle services in over one hundred and forty countries. The company is ranked as the largest motor vehicle manufacture in the United States while world wide it is ranked third with respect to revenue generated per year (General Motors. 2010).The main brands of vehicles manufactured by GM are Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Holden and Opel. The number of brands was streamlined in 2009 which saw some brands such as Hummer and Pontiac being eliminated from the firm.
The average sales of the company are usually above 2million dollars annually although the recent global crisis had a negative impact on the company (General Motors. 2010).Due to its world wide presence, GM has an employee population of 244, 500 working in different countries as well as in different capacities. The home country has the largest percentage of employees standing at 112,000 while other countries possess smaller percentages dependent on the size of the plant (General Motors. 2010).Over the years, GM has experienced very few strikes organized by employees as the firm has developed a conducive working environment for all in addition to provision of appropriate motivation. However, in September 2004 employees of GM in the United States staged a boycott which called for a tentative agreement to be signed which guaranteed the employees provision of adequate health care facilities in addition to services which were affordable to them all (General Motors. 2010).
The selected situation
Workplace absenteeism involves a situation whereby the employees call in sick or else they fail to turn up a work due to unavoidable circumstances which may be valid or invalid. Workplace absenteeism usually has significant effects on the productivity of a firm in addition to overburdening of other employees who have to step in the place of those who did not turn up (Smith, 2010).As the industrial field continues to grow and advance towards competitiveness, the performance of human resource is often determined by employee attendance, their productivity and commitment to the organization. Therefore, it becomes quiet difficult to minimize incidences of absenteeism and the costs which are associated with lose of human capital which results from inadequacy (Smith, 2010).Employee attendance and absenteeism if often linked to various factors such as poor health or other problems in the home set-up.
Though not frequent, most employees fail to show up at work under the pretense that they are unwell. Employees who take leave by citing false claims could be avoiding the workplace environment or else they could be avoiding the responsibilities assigned to them. Degree of safety in the working environment as well as presentation of unwelcoming surroundings are reason enough to make employees stay away from the workplace (Smith, 2010). Most organizations have developed mechanisms of establishing the causes as well as frequency of absenteeism such that they are able to work on the causes to minimize the economic losses. Among them are absence management policies which establish ways of respecting human values and the contribution of employees when all other factors are stable (Smith, 2010).
Motivational theories in employee absenteeism
Employee motivation is quite crucial in educing the frequency of absenteeism especially for employees who seek leave out of pretense. A major theory which is applied in employee motivation is valuing each and every member of an organization. Valuing may include appreciating the work or role played by various individuals whether it is carried out by professionals or by casuals. Employees who are made to believe that their responsibilities and tasks are no longer a way of making money but a career are more willing to get to work other than those who seek only financial fulfillment in their workplace (Gannaway, 2010).Similarly, financial gain may be a motivation especially where employees are accorded perks based on their performance. Employers who have applied such motivational theories such that any employee who posts exemplary performance is rewarded have seen a decline in employee absenteeism. Rather than an employee from such a firm opting for a sick leave to avoid going to work, they will be willing to arrive early and spend more time at work in a bid to increase their productivity.
Such a situation boosts the performance of all employees and the problem of absenteeism is solved by rewarding those who perform well (Gannaway, 2010).The organizational culture is also critical in determining the employee attendance in that a culture which does not provide equal opportunities for al workers proves to be a turn off for many. Employees always wish to work for a firm which encourages a sense of belonging for all in that the whole work force is seen as a bigger family. The attitude posted by management concerning its employees plays a key role in ensuring that they are motivated to turn up to work the following day or not. Neglect of employees not only causes demoralization of employees as well as a hazardous environment which may result in severe emotional and physical injuries (Gannaway, 2010).Research has shown that firms which provide proper motivation as well as application of adequate strategies increase employee commitment and attendance hence eliminating avoidable absenteeism (Gannaway, 2010).
The role of organizational leadership in employee’s absenteeism
Organizational leaders have a role to play in ensuring that their employees are able to carry out their responsibilities efficiently. This may include provision of the right environment which is void of hindrances and full of motivational factors (Smith, 2010). The management has a role to play in enhancing that all employees are appreciated as well as accorded all due respect. This is achieved by eliminating all forms of discriminatory remarks and boundaries such that all employees are given equal opportunities to prove their worth. Similarly, all employees should be presented with equal chances to explain the legality of their absenteeism especially where management may doubt some facts about the frequency (Smith, 2010).
Absenteeism as a result of injuries obtained in the course of duty or within the vicinity of the workplace can be prevented by putting in place various measures which will reduce such occurrences. Employees have limited opportunities of presenting a safer working environment and it is upon the management to execute such initiatives (Smith, 2010). Despite all these factors, organizational leaders who invest in strong relationships between the management and employees increase two-way communications among the two groups which fosters understanding for all. Employee loyalty may be earned this way and with time management is able to get a clear picture of the situation at hand which reduces employee absenteeism as the problem are catered for in advance (Smith, 2010).
The role of power and influence in employee absenteeism
Most organizations which are least affected by employee absenteeism have enacted policies which cater for paid out sick leave such that at the end of an employee tenure, the amount which was accumulated is paid out. This reduces the number of days an employee may opt for a day off especially if the sickness is minor. However, many organizational leaders tend to exclude casuals as well as non-career employees from such schemes which may reduce their absenteeism. In such instances only those who hold key positions are provided with the details and they benefit while the others are left out Meisel, (2008).Managers and heads of various departments have significant roles to play especially in influencing members of their sectors to avoid habitual absenteeism. Policies which analyze necessity of absenteeism should be formulated by those in power as they are more influential due to the responsibilities assigned to them Meisel, (2008).
Gannaway, D. (2010), motivation and absenteeism: employee motivation. Retrieved on June 4, 2010 from: www.true-motivation.com
General Motors (2010), General Motors Corporate Website. Retrieved on June 4, 2010 from: www.gm.com/
Meisel, S. (2008), workplace deviance as organizational resistance. Organizational Management Journal. Vol. 5, pp. 181-183
Smith, N.P. (2010), how to control employee absenteeism in the workplace. Retrieved on June 4, 2010 from: www.brighthub.com/office/entreprenuers/articles/64682.aspx.
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