Managing absenteeism in vocational education in Botswana
Absenteeism has proven to be a global problem in the workplace, which is further exacerbated by multifaceted factors that cause absence. It is pervasive, inevitable and has an undesirably negative impact on the operations and service delivery of an organisation, if not managed properly. Generally, absenteeism disrupts the work environment and negatively affects the organisation and employees’ morale. A literature search was conducted on the causes, costs, impact, measurements, consequences and strategies of absenteeism in the workplace. Literature on job satisfaction as a concept was also conducted on personal and organisational sources, both content and process theories, and consequences of job satisfaction. The researcher also conducted a survey questionnaire with a sample of employees at DTVET to ascertain their perceptions regarding absenteeism and job satisfaction status within the department. The aim of the study was to identify the main causes of high absenteeism and to determine the status of job satisfaction levels in DTVET. The study identified the causes of absenteeism among DTVET employees, and discovered that reasons are attributed to: work overload; lack of employee health programmes; lack of resolution of employees’ problems; headache problems; inconsistent application of absenteeism procedures; lack of autonomy; lack of an effective performance reward system; backache problems; sick leave entitlement mentality; stomach upsets; and, finally, colds and flu. Findings also revealed that DTVET employees mostly derive their job dissatisfaction from: work overload; bureaucratic processes; benefits; pay; lack of recognition for work well done; and lack of promotion opportunities. This finding also supports Robbins’s (2003:82) conclusions that the consequences of job dissatisfaction may lead to employees missing work, this may also be expressed in various forms i.e. employees complaints, insubordination, steal organisational property, reduce effort, chronic absenteeism, increase error rate, lateness etc. Realistically, absenteeism in the workplace will never be eradicated, however, with proper management interventions, absenteeism rates can be reduced to acceptable levels.