It’s no secret that reps who regularly miss work have negative impacts on your sales numbers and overall business success.
Across the United States, the collective absences of sales staff amounts to a total loss of $6.8 billion. The cost is calculated by factoring in the wages paid to the sick employee, the cost of a temporary replacement, administrative cost and the loss of productivity within the sales force during the absence.
Of course, sickness is unavoidable. But research suggests that up to 40% of absentees are not ill. Childcare difficulties, bullying, stress, family problems or tiredness can all account for an employee’s decision to call in sick.
While this is a frustrating dilemma for sales managers, absences can be managed proactively to ensure that your team is feeling healthy, happy and able to freely communicate about what’s going on in their lives.
How Sales Management Can Reduce Sales Rep Absences
1. Introduce flexible working.
An employee that is going through a tough time or who has scheduling difficulties at home might benefit from a flexible work options, including the ability to work from home.
Some sales managers assume that working from home equates to poor productivity; data reveals quite the opposite. A recent study shows that productivity increases by 13.5 percent with flexible home-working.
This option gives a stressed-out salesperson the ability to regather themselves, take care of their children or resolve personal dilemmas without needing to call in sick. They may even score a top sale from their own living room at the same time.
2. Introduce a wellness program.
A wellness program supports employee health and well-being. A 2013 Towers Watson report shows a direct link between a great wellness program and reduced absences. If your sales reps feel cared for, they are more likely to engage with the job.
The benefits you choose to incorporate into the program will be directly impacted by your company budget. Google is famous for how it treats employees. The company provides each worker with free healthy snacks, scooters, sleeping pods, walking desks, massage services, haircuts, recreational rooms and sports facilities.
Most companies won’t have the resources for such extravagant facilities, but there are still ways you can adopt the principle. Voucher schemes, a relaxation area or even access to a counselor could give employees the extra boost they need.
3. Get to know your sales team.
You might already know that Bill is excellent at lead generation in Singapore and other parts of Asia or that Sophie is the best at closing a deal, but how much do you know about who they really are? Evidence suggests that bigger companies have higher percentages of absent employees. While this partly could be down to the wider exposure of germs and illnesses, it’s also correlated to a person’s sense of their position in the team and overall company.
Intimate sales teams are more likely to practice honest communication and commitment to the common vision. This makes absenteeism less likely, as any workplace problems or home stresses can be communicated in advance.
Get to know your reps and implement a culture of trust and friendship. Why not go out for a team meal once in awhile or set up an in-house social media page? Cultivate a more meaningful relationship for your sales team.
Managing absences is tough, but coming down hard on absent employees is not the answer. Instead, invest in the health and well-being of your sales team to enable vital communication and provide reps with alternatives to calling in sick. You’ll end up with a happier and more productive team.