Absenteeism rates are lower for organizations that recognize employes for good attendance, but don't seem to be reduced by "flex-time" scheduling, according to a national survey conducted by Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
More than 3 million Americans fail to report to work each day, according to Department of Labor statistics used in the survey by Virginia Tech assistant management professors K. Dow Scott and Steven E. Markham. In addition, the federal figures show that a business employing 1,000 workers loses about $200,000 a year for each percentage point of absenteeism, and that the annual drain on the economy is over $30 billion.
About 1,000 personnel managers from firms of various sizes responded to the Virginia Tech questionnaire, which included inquiries about absence rates and about the effectiveness of methods firms use in controlling them.
Mere recognition of exceptional employe attendance, such as mention in in-house newsletters or on bulletin boards, is seen as a factor in reducing absenteeism, the survey found. Managers believe these methods are just as effective as monetary rewards such as the "paid absence bank," which adds a bonus to an employe's paycheck or vacation time in return for a good attendance record.
Companies that do not use "flex-time," an arrangement under which employes design their own work schedules, generally had better attendance than those that do, the research showed.
Managers were shown to favor traditional disciplinary approaches to absenteeism, with 96 percent rating dismissal for excessive absenteeism as the most effective deterrent.
Still, the survey showed that although the personnel managers who responded believe disciplinary programs must be based on established policies and accurate records, 24 percent said their organizations did not provide a clearly written attendance policy and 30 percent could not provide current absenteeism rates. Fifty-seven percent said they analyzed attendance information monthly.
The survey indicated that firms where daily attendance records were kept by personnel departments had lower absenteeism rates than companies where supervisors were responsible for such record-keeping. Monthly analysis of attendance records also seemed to be a factor in reducing absenteeism.
Some less effective methods of controlling worker absences, the researchers found, were requirements of written verification of illness from a doctor and discussion of attendance policies during employe orientation.
Scott and Markham said employers can save money if they "approach absenteeism control with a comprehensive strategy, even if the services of a consultant are required."
In addition, they recommended that policies on employe dismissals caused by absenteeism be consistent and properly administered. They also said employers should recognize "the value of using positive incentives to reduce absenteeism."
Davies Associates Inc., a Bethesda executive recruiting firm, is offering a national computerized multiple-listing of job opportunities and resumes compiled through select recruiting firms across the country. The listing, which was created by Computer Search International of Baltimore, is called the Career Network.
The service involves transmission of descriptions of corporate job opportunities and individual resumes over a computer network called The Source, which is maintained by Source Telecomputing Corp. of McLean and owned by Reader's Digest Association. The Source also allows individual and corporate computer owners in the United States, England and Australia access to the Career Network.
A new branch office of the Calvert Group of Money Market Funds opened recently in the Air Rights Plaza in Bethesda. Free copies of William Donoghue's "Complete Money Market Guide" will be given to the first 1,000 persons who visit the new office or the firm's downtown location between now and March 31. The Calvert Group consists of the First Variable Rate Fund and Calvert Tax-Free Reserves Fund.
SysDes Inc., a computer firm specializing in consulting, systems and software services for U.S. high technology industries, recently opened its headquarters in Alexandria. The company, which is the American subsidiary of Britain's Systems Designers International Ltd., has contracts in this country with E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co. for process control work and with Loral Inc., for defense communications software.
Three former employes of T. Rowe Price Associates recently announced the formation in Baltimore of an investment counseling firm which will specialize in emerging growth companies. John T. Johnson, Edwin S. Valliant and James W. Broadfoot have formed Johnson, Valliant & Broadfoot, a company which will serve pension funds, foundations, endowments and individuals.
Planning Research Corp. has been awarded a $3.8 million contract by the government of Indonesia to design and supervise construction of a major dam and hydroelectric project. Work under the five-year contract will be performed by PRC Engineering Consultants International, a division of PRC Engineering based in Englewood, Colo. The project, which will be financed by the Asian Development Bank, is expected to cost $193 million.
CNI Satellite Systems, a satellite television broadcast and equipment distribution firm based in Leesburg, recently acquired OZCOM Corp., a commercial and consumer satellite systems company in Greenbelt. The new company will be located in Loudoun County.