Prof. Sir Cary Cooper invented the word Presenteeism more than a decade ago. It’s a word that few had heard. That was, until Hillary Clinton made it famous a couple weeks ago. But for researchers and authors on the topic, Presenteeism has been well known. They look at it as a serious and significant opportunity for organizations to boost performance and productivity. One of the corporate world’s biggest strategic omissions. This was not the new shiny object that entices and makes organizations vie with each other to adopt. But all that may change very soon as CEOs begin to wonder, ‘Could this be happening in my company?’
So read on if you have become more aware of the need to know how you can benefit from addressing presenteeism. Presenteeism is defined as the phenomenon of people who are unwell going to the workplace. Researchers look at tackling presenteeism as a serious and significant opportunity for organizations to boost performance and productivity, in ways that are fundamental to the ‘human’ in the human resource.
That approach is not to send the unwell employee home, or asking the unwell employee to take leave. The approach is a lot more strategic. Its about proactively assessing and actively managing the 11underlying barriers that could make an employee ‘unwell’. Researchers in Rhode Island came out with a study titled, Well-Being Assessment for Productivity A Well-Being Approach to Presenteeism in July 2011 wherein these 11 factors are called out. See the pix below taken from the study:
(Reproduced with permission from the publisher)
The study indicates that the current approach of focusing on physical health alone is flawed and only address 1 i.e. Health, out of 11 factors that can cause an employee to become a presentee. Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia must have been attracted from the environment. Preceding her pneumonia were damaging media coverage and her opponent openly calling out her health as weak. Neurologically this does not go un-noticed and would have resulted in higher cortisol levels thus lowering the capabilities of her immune system. Adding on to this may be financial i.e. generating adequate funds for her fund-guzzling campaign and the sheer physical strain of running the campaign trail. So we just called out 4 dimensions of wellness that are under strain. i.e. Mental, Environmental, physical, financial out of 6. The other two being Social and Spiritual. (Ref: The 6 Dimensions, Overcome Presenteeism: Excel in work and life, Black Card Books, 1st edition). Companies that have somehow partially figured a way to help employees manage some or all of these 11 factors land up being called out as the best places to work.
There is now a more robust and implementable strategy to tackle Presenteeism. No its not to convert it to absenteeism. That’s a rather dumb approach. Peakism is a brand new approach to an age old problem that has been begging a solution for several decades. http://www.hrmasia.com/content/exclusive-presenteeism-peakism
The article details the entire implementation approach. If you’d like to know more on how to make a start for your organization reach out to me for a free consultation.
Gurunath Hari is the author of Amazon International Best seller “The 6 Dimensions, Overcome Presenteeism: Excel in work and Life”. He has over 25 years of corporate experience, including leadership and management roles. His working life started at the end of the pre-computer era and continues to the present ‘everything-mobile’ era.
The kindle and hardcopy version of 6 Dimensions book is available at Amazon.