Factors Impacting Absence Behavior in the Hospitality Industry

Sherma Roberts
The delivery of service excellence is largely dependent upon motivated, committed, and satisfied staff. These variables are directly impacted upon by a number of organizational and management practices, which can in turn affect the level of absenteeism among employees. Increasingly, organizations are attempting to be more proactive in their management of absence, given the direct and indirect costs that can be incurred; the former of which can include occupational sick pay, lost production and replacement staff. More indirectly, absenteeism places a burden on other employees, leading to poor morale, lower productivity, compromised service and overall profitability. Recognizing the critical effect that absenteeism can have on an organization’s competitive advantage, this paper examines the factors impacting upon absence behaviour at a 4 start hotel in Antigua, and puts forward recommendations for the management of this phenomenon. .

Questionnaires and interviews were the data collection methods used. The study found that the three main reasons for absences are family related (children) health related (unexpected illness) and job-related stress, the latter a result of increased work-load due to absences. Other work setting variables such as supervisor fairness, lack of continuous training and development and inconsistently applied performance management systems may be having an impact on employees’ decision to withdraw from the job or be absent. In general though, the study found that employees are very committed to the organization and are satisfied with the technical areas of their job.

The paper proposes a number of broad strategic policy recommendations for managing absence, including human resource development through training, consistent application of performance management appraisals, and supervisor training in human relation skills.