Pandemic leads to dramatic falls in absenteeism, turnover

posted on October 14, 2020

October 12, 2020

By Jim Wilson, HR Reporter Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a dramatic impact on several key HR benchmarks, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada.

For one, the overall absence rate for the most recent 12 months stood at 5.1 per cent, the lowest rate in the 21st century.

The rate is a significant drop from seven per cent for 2018-19, 6.7 per cent for 2018-17, 6.6 per cent for 2016-17, 6.4 per cent for 2015-16 and 6.5 per cent for 2014-15.

The number drops even lower to 3.3 per cent for the most recent six months.

“This is not surprising. Many organizations switched to a remote-work arrangement at the onset of the pandemic and there have been extra health and safety measures in place for workplaces that remained open,” says the Conference Board of Canada.

Employee assistance programs (EAP) result in cost savings ranging from about $2,000 to $3,500 per employee, from reductions in work presenteeism (87 per cent of total return) and absenteeism (13 per cent), according to Morneau Shepell.

Recruitment, retention
Also, 55 per cent of organizations are having no difficulty recruiting and retaining talent, with 24 per cent having some trouble recruiting and 20 per cent having difficulty in both recruitment and retention, according to the Conference Board. Just two per cent of organizations are having difficulty just retaining talent.

The 45 per cent for 2019-20 who are having issues with recruiting and retaining talent is a huge drop from 62 per cent for 2018-19, followed by 64 per cent for 2017-18, 57 per cent for 2016-17, 58 per cent for 2015-16 and 59 per cent for 2014-15.

Despite the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, recruiting and hiring remain strong in Canada, according to a recent Robert Half survey.

Currently, the top in-demand specializations are IT/technology, management and engineering, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

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