5 Tips to Create an Effective Performance Improvement Plan for Attendance

You’ve noticed your employees calling in sick a few too many times lately. Their absenteeism is starting to affect productivity and morale. You know something needs to change, but you’re not sure where to start.

Creating a performance improvement plan for attendance is one of the best ways to boost productivity and get things back on track. In this article, we’ll walk through five tips to develop an effective plan tailored to your team.

You’ll learn strategies to understand the root causes of absenteeism, set clear expectations for attendance, provide incentives for improvement, outline consequences for ongoing issues, and monitor progress. With the right approach, you can curb absenteeism and create a culture of responsibility. Let’s dive in and get your staff back to work!

How to Create an Effective Performance Improvement Plan For Attendance

Why an Employee Attendance Improvement Plan is Essential

Improving employee attendance is crucial for any organization. When employees frequently miss work, it leads to loss in productivity and revenue. An effective employee attendance improvement plan helps curb absenteeism and boosts morale.

Boosting Employee Morale and Engagement

When employees feel valued and supported at work, their morale and engagement improve. Higher morale leads to lower absenteeism as employees want to come to work. An attendance improvement plan can boost morale in a few ways:

  1. Showing employees you care about their wellbeing and success. Making an effort to improve attendance shows employees you care about them as individuals.
  2. Providing recognition and rewards. Thank employees who improve their attendance and meet goals. Simple rewards can go a long way.
  3. Giving employees a sense of control. Work with employees to set reasonable attendance goals and identify solutions that work for them. When employees feel in control, their morale and motivation increases.
  4. Opening lines of communication. Discussing attendance issues openly and honestly helps strengthen employee relationships and build trust. Employees with a strong connection to their company and managers have higher morale.

So while an attendance improvement plan may seem like a corrective measure at first, when implemented properly it can actually boost employee morale, engagement and motivation to come to work. Focus on recognizing progress, celebrating wins and strengthening connections with employees to maximize the positive impact on morale.

Enhancing Organizational Productivity

When team members are absent from work frequently, it puts a strain on the rest of the organization. Productivity suffers as others must take on additional responsibilities or tasks go undone. An effective attendance improvement plan can:

  1. Reduce unplanned absences. Clear goals, incentives and consequences can motivate employees to reduce absenteeism and come to work as scheduled. This minimizes disruptions and ensures work gets done on time.
  2. Improve time management. Coaching employees on time management techniques can help them utilize work hours more efficiently and minimize tardiness.
  3. Boost team morale and cohesion. Higher morale among attending employees leads to better teamwork, communication and productivity. Teams work together seamlessly when all members are present.
  4. Reinforce the importance of attendance. By taking a proactive approach, you demonstrate that attendance is a priority and essential for the organization’s success. This sets a positive example for the entire workforce.

An attendance improvement plan holds both managers and employees accountable for enhancing productivity. Set goals that are ambitious yet achievable. Monitor progress closely and adjust the plan as needed. With a company-wide emphasis on timely attendance, productivity and performance will surely improve.

What are the Key Inclusions for Improvement Plan Document

Documented Instances

To start, you’ll want to provide concrete examples of the attendance issues, like specific dates the employee was late or absent. Be sure to note how their lack of attendance impacted their work or coworkers. Having this documented evidence will make the expectations and consequences very clear.

Impact Analysis

Discuss how the employee’s attendance problems have impacted their own work, their team, and potentially your company’s bottom line. Explain that their role is important to operations and that you want to provide support so they can meet attendance requirements going forward.

Clear Expectations

Lay out your specific attendance policy and what you expect from the employee moving forward, e.g. no more than 3 absences per month, always arriving by 8 am, limited personal appointments during work hours, etc. Be very transparent about what constitutes an “excused” vs. “unexcused” absence. The more details the better.

Outlined Consequences

Be very clear about the consequences if the employee’s attendance does not improve, e.g. probation, loss of bonuses or privileges, or ultimately termination. But also note that your goal is to avoid these negative outcomes and you want to work with the employee to ensure their success. Offer resources like a flexible schedule or time off to handle personal issues.

Creating a comprehensive performance improvement plan is the best way to boost your employee’s attendance and get them back on track. With clear communication and support, you’ll help them understand the impacts of their absences and give them the tools they need to do their best work.

How to Develop a Performance Improvement Plan For Attendance

To get your employees on board with better attendance, you need to create a straightforward plan. This will establish clear guidelines and incentives to help motivate them.

First, evaluate your existing attendance records to determine areas that need improvement. Then, establish transparent attendance guidelines, like requiring notice for planned time off at least 2 weeks in advance. Also, set a maximum number of unplanned absences allowed per year before disciplinary action may be required.

1. Evaluating Existing Attendance Records

Look through your employee’s attendance records over the past 6 to 12 months. Note the number and type of absences, including sick days, personal days, tardiness, and unplanned time off. Look for patterns, like frequent Monday or Friday absences, and absences that coincide with holidays or events. Document how many times the employee failed to give proper notice for time off.

Identify which attendance issues need the most improvement. For example, you may find the employee takes an excessive number of unplanned sick days or frequently arrives late. Prioritize these issues in your performance improvement plan and set specific, measurable goals for reducing them.

For example, if tardiness is a problem, you could set a goal of “Arrive to work on time at least 90% of work days over the next 3 months.” Having specific, quantifiable goals will help you and the employee track progress.

Once you’ve gathered the relevant attendance data and identified priorities, discuss your findings with the employee. Explain how their current attendance is impacting work and what specific changes are needed going forward.

2. Establishing Transparent Attendance Guidelines

To ensure your employee understands and follows proper attendance procedures going forward, establish transparent attendance guidelines as part of your performance improvement plan. Here are some guidelines you should consider:

  • Require at least 2 weeks’ notice for planned time off. Make it clear that last minute requests for time off may not be approved.
  • Set a maximum number of unplanned absences allowed per year. For example, you may establish that more than 6 unplanned absences in a year may result in disciplinary action.
  • Clearly define what qualifies as an unplanned absence, such as calling in sick without a doctor’s note.
  • Specify acceptable reasons for tardiness and early departure. Set clear guidelines for notifying your employee’s supervisor when they will be late or need to leave early.
  • Establish consequences for violating attendance guidelines. This could mean written warnings, suspension of benefits like paid time off accrual, or even termination.
  • Provide incentives for good attendance like bonus payouts, extra paid time off, or recognition. This can motivate your employee to improve.

By setting up transparent rules and clear expectations, you give your employee the structure they need to understand how to improve their attendance and meet your requirements going forward.

3. Implementing Effective Attendance Tracking Mechanisms

Some tools that employers can use to implement effective attendance tracking mechanisms include:

  • Electronic time clocks – Employees can clock in and out electronically using a fingerprint or badge swipe system. This provides a precise record of work start and end times each day.
  • Online time tracking software – Solutions like Kronos and Zenefits allow employees to clock in from their computers or mobile devices. Managers have real-time visibility into who is at work, late arrivals and early departures.
  • GPS tracking for field staff – For employees who work offsite, GPS tracking software can monitor their locations to ensure they are where they are supposed to be during work hours.
  • Manual time sheets – For companies with few employees or a low-tech environment, paper time sheets signed by employees and managers each day still provide an accurate attendance record.
  • Doctor’s notes for sick days – Require employees to provide a doctor’s note for absences over a certain length of time. This helps verify that time off was truly necessary for health reasons.

By implementing tools that provide an objective record of employee attendance and timeliness, you have solid data to identify issues, measure performance improvement and determine whether disciplinary actions are warranted. The more precise and reliable your attendance tracking system, the more effectively you can enforce the guidelines in your performance improvement plan.

4. Developing Incentives and Providing Support

In addition to setting clear expectations and consequences, providing incentives and support can help motivate an underperforming employee to improve their attendance. Some strategies to develop in your performance improvement plan include:

  • Offer rewards for achieving attendance milestones. Give the employee an achievable goal such as reducing their tardiness by half over the next month. Then provide a small bonus or extra time off if they hit that goal.
  • Provide access to any resources that could help. This could mean employee assistance programs for personal issues, flexible scheduling, or transportation assistance if getting to work on time is a challenge.
  • Offer mentoring or coaching. Pair the employee with a colleague who can check in regularly, provide accountability, and offer strategies to improve timeliness. This social support can motivate behavior change.
  • Consider a temporary reduction in work hours. For employees struggling with issues outside of work, a shorter schedule for a period of time may help them get back on track.
  • Express confidence in their ability to improve. While setting clear expectations, also communicate your belief that the employee is capable of meeting those expectations with the right strategies in place. This can boost their self-efficacy and motivation.
  • Check in regularly. During scheduled follow-ups, discuss progress, any challenges the employee still faces, and tweak the improvement plan as needed. Your ongoing involvement shows you care about them succeeding.

5. Regularly Evaluating and Adjusting the Plan

To ensure your performance improvement plan for attendance is effective, build in regular evaluations and adjustments. Schedule follow-up meetings every two to four weeks to:

  • Check the employee’s progress toward attendance goals. Discuss what strategies have been helpful and which require tweaking. Modify goals and support strategies as needed based on the employee’s feedback and progress.
  • Address any new challenges that have arisen. Circumstances constantly change, so be prepared to alter the plan based on the employee’s current situation.
  • Recalibrate incentives and consequences as goals are met or changed. Retain incentives that motivate the employee while adjusting expectations and consequences to match their progress.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of tracking mechanisms. If the attendance tracking tools are not providing useful data or insight, make changes to get more accurate and helpful information.
  • Solicit feedback on the plan itself. Ask the employee what is working well and what could be improved to help them improve their attendance. Incorporate their perspective into future iterations of the performance improvement plan.

With regular check-ins and adjustments based on progress and feedback, you can continue to refine your performance improvement plan for attendance over time, keeping it targeted and effective for the specific employee and circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Why is an Employee Attendance Improvement Plan necessary?

An attendance policy helps set clear expectations for your employees and gives you guidance on how to address unsatisfactory attendance. It ensures all staff are treated fairly and consistently. Without a policy, absenteeism can negatively impact productivity, morale, and work quality.

Q2: What should be included in clear attendance policies?

A good attendance policy should define what constitutes an “absence,” whether paid time off and unpaid time off days are included, and how employees should report an absence. It should also specify the number of absences allowed before a performance improvement plan is implemented. Disciplinary actions for excessive absences should be outlined, e.g. verbal warning, written warning, suspension, or termination.

Q3: How often should I review and adapt the Employee Attendance Improvement Plan?

You should review attendance data regularly, such as monthly or quarterly. Look for any patterns of unplanned absences that could indicate potential issues. Meet with employees who have high absence rates to understand the reasons behind it. You may need to revise policies or take further action. It’s also a good idea to review and update the overall attendance policy annually to ensure it’s still meeting the needs of your organization.

Q4:What are the long-term benefits of implementing an Employee Attendance Improvement Plan?

An effective attendance policy and improvement plan can reduce costs from lost productivity, ensure adequate staffing levels, and promote a culture where good attendance is valued. Over time, you should see lower absence rates, higher employee engagement, and improved morale. Your staff will have a clearer understanding of your attendance expectations leading to greater accountability and productivity.

In summary, a comprehensive attendance policy and improvement plan is well worth the investment. By taking the time to develop a fair policy, monitoring attendance, and making necessary changes, you’ll build the foundation for a productive workplace where people want to show up.


Well, there you have it – five simple but powerful steps for creating an attendance improvement plan that really works. Remember, the goal isn’t to punish people or make them feel bad. It’s to help them succeed. With the right positive and proactive approach, you can get great results. So take the time to customize a plan for each employee.

Check in regularly to provide support. And focus on progress, not perfection. Small consistent improvements will compound over time. Stick with it, stay patient and understanding, and you’ll likely see your attendance issues fade. Now get out there and help your team show up every day ready to crush it! You’ve got this.

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