Whether it's an employee who always calls out sick before a holiday weekend, or one who constantly takes long lunches and leaves work early, attendance issues in the workplace can be a big problem. While occasional absences or tardiness is of course understandable, when these problems are widespread they can lead to a much less productive workplace. Luckily, there are things you can do as a manager to nip attendance issues in the bud. Here are six tips for effectively dealing with employee attendance issues:
Buy Time and Attendance Software
The first step to tackling attendance issues is to know exactly how big the problem is by tracking your employee's hours. Time and attendance software, from places like SmartLinx Solutions LLC, eliminates the guesswork by letting your employees track the exact hours they work. You may find that simply using time and attendance software will deter bad attendance, because employees are probably less likely to skip work or sneak in late if they know their hours are being tracked. Time and attendance software will also help automate things like vacation day accrual and payroll.
Have a Written Attendance Policy
It's crucial to have a clear and specific attendance policy in writing. After all, your staff won't know they are breaking the attendance rules if they don't even know what those rules are. Your attendance policy should articulate the process for scheduling vacation, calling in sick, as well as how many days of leave each employee has and how those days are accrued. In addition, it should clearly explain how many unscheduled absences or tardy incidents are acceptable, and what (if any) specific consequences there are for going over that amount.
Incentivize Good Attendance
Sometimes getting better attendance out of your staff calls for a little extra motivation in the form of rewards. For example, you could reward employees who have fewer than three unscheduled absences in a six month period with a cash bonus, an extra vacation or personal day, or a fun prize like a gift card. Another option is to let employees cash in unused sick days at the end of the year for a bonus equivalent to the number of days pay for that staff member.
Communicate the Attendance Policy Through Multiple Channels
It doesn't matter how clear and well-written your attendance policy is if no one seems to know about it. The best way to ensure everyone is aware of the specific rules regarding attendance is to make the policy available through multiple channels. Make printed copies available during new hire orientations and have employees sign off that they've read them. Post them on the company's internal website. Consider periodically sending the attendance policy to the staff via email, or distribute it as a printout during staff meetings from time to time.
Meet with Employees One-on-One
If a specific employee is having trouble showing up to work on time or calling in constantly, it's best to schedule a meeting with them to discuss the issue privately. Start by asking them if there's a reason for their attendance problems and listening in a non-reactive way. It's possible that your employee is dealing with a temporary personal situation causing their attendance issues, rather than being deliberately irresponsible. Work together to come up with a solution for avoiding future issues.
Consider Flexible Work Options
Instead of becoming more strict about attendance, you may want to consider becoming more flexible about schedules and work setting in order to help eliminate many common reasons for absences from work. In fact, many experts agree that offering your employees more flexibility can enhance workplace productivity. Once you let people set more flexible schedules or work remotely at least part of the time, their attendance may dramatically improve. Sometimes childcare, transportation, and other needs make it difficult to adhere to a rigid 8-5 schedule.
By following these tips, chronic absenteeism in the workplace will soon be a thing of the past.