Tips on Addressing Employee Attendance Issues in the Workplace
If you want your company to succeed, you need to surround yourself with the right people. Now, if you rush through the hiring process, you’ll likely make mistakes. You may end up working with employees who do not care about the company. From time to time, they may not show up for work, which can affect your team’s overall productivity.
According to a Career Builder survey, 40% of employees lie about being sick to skip work. Indeed, absenteeism is a serious problem that any company is facing. What’s more, a Gallup survey found that over $84 billion is lost every year due to workers missing work. So, if you’re dealing with attendance issues at work, you must address them effectively.
The Importance of Addressing Excessive Absenteeism in the Workplace
Some leaders prefer creating a work culture that’s free from rigid schedules and rules. Others hate to be the nosy boss who wants to know what time everyone gets into the office. We get it—it doesn’t feel good to call out employees for missing work or being tardy. However, there is a compelling reason why you should bring up the issue of absenteeism and address it promptly. Here’s why:
Other Productive Employees Will Notice It
When an employee keeps skipping work, their colleagues will pick up the slack. They will do the tasks that they normally wouldn’t have to do. Of course, since they already have their hands full, taking extra work can stretch them to the max. So, they will definitely notice if their colleague has work attendance issues.
Your Team’s Productivity and Reputation Will Be Affected
With excessive absences from work, your team will lack the manpower to meet deadlines. When this happens, you may lose valuable clients. Eventually, your company will lose credibility and become infamous for not delivering a service or product on time.
Employee Morale and Engagement Will Drop
When you keep on letting unexcused absences slide, productive employees will become resentful and disengaged. They may even harbor feelings of bitterness toward you, their manager. They will wonder why they have to suffer for someone else’s neglect. Eventually, the situation may escalate to an argument between the employees.
We can all agree that job abandonment is a big problem for any company. However, why is it so difficult to effectively curb absenteeism? In reality, business executives do not understand the gravity of the issue. In most cases, they don’t want to risk offending the problematic employee. Consequently, even the individual in question does not understand the enormity of the issue.
How to Address Problems with Employee Attendance
To prevent employees from being absent without taking leave, you must use a consistent and systematic approach. Here are some ways you can communicate your expectations for attendance:
Establish a Policy on Excessive Absenteeism
Your employee handbook should clearly lay out what the company expects from its workers. Remember to put everything in black and white. This way, they won’t use ignorance as an excuse for missing work. Your attendance policy should include the following:
- A clear definition of tardiness and absenteeism
- The stipulations of taking a legitimate leave – i.e., the definition of unexcused absences, unscheduled vs. approved absence, and paid time off (PTO)
- A distinction between personal leaves and sick leaves
- Who are considered as non-exempt and exempt employees according to the FLSA regulations
- Protected leaves under the Americans with Disabilities Act (AMA)
- Protected leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Before you schedule a meeting with problem employees, you need to gather enough evidence to prove their poor attendance. It’s important that you have the actual dates and time logs to support your claim. Having this information will enable you to communicate your point effectively. If you want to improve attendance at work, you may risk offending your employees. Even so, you can keep everything professional by backing the conversation with enough evidence.
When you bring the relevant information to the meeting, people will understand how serious you are about improving employee attendance. However, don’t take a defensive approach when starting the conversation. You need to listen to what the other person has to say and try to see if they have valid reasons for being absent. If so, then you can reconsider writing them up for the first offense.
Pro Tip: Use an Online Monitoring App to Gather Evidence
Tracking attendance can be challenging and time-consuming to do manually, especially when you’re managing a remote team. Thankfully, there is an easier way to do this. You can use an online monitoring tool like Traqq. Require your employees to run this app as soon as they start working. It will function like a time clock app that records their daily start and end times.
You can go to the dashboard and select the period you want to monitor. On the Reports page, you can generate timesheets within a few clicks. What’s more, you can use Traqq to monitor your employees’ productivity. This tool will show you their activity levels and the websites and apps that they mostly use. You will discover what’s wasting their time during office hours. This way, you can ensure that every minute you’ll pay is a minute that went to productive work.
Foster an Open Dialog
Once you’re ready to discuss workplace attendance, make sure that you are willing to listen to the other party. Here are some things to remember:
Choose a private place where you and the employee can chat. It shouldn’t be at their cubicle, where everyone can listen to the conversation. Now, if you’re working with a remote employee, you can schedule a one-on-one video meeting.
Instead of creating a mood of condemnation, you should set an atmosphere that fosters information gathering and curiosity. The goal here is, for example, to identify why your employee showed up late. You need to get to the root cause of their attendance problem and try to solve it. You must make it known that you care about your employee.
Let your employee know that you are open to communication. This way, if they have questions about the disciplinary process concerning absenteeism, they can contact you. Also, they should feel that they can approach you and discuss why they keep missing work.
Be Genuinely Concerned
While they’re alarming, excessive absences should not be a reason to immediately terminate employees. If a person used to be diligent but suddenly starts missing work, then it’s likely that they’re dealing with personal issues. Of course, it’s not appropriate to pry into their life. However, you must let them know that you are available if they need someone to talk to.
Enforce the Workplace Attendance Policies Seriously
After a couple of weeks, evaluate the employee’s attendance behavior. If there is no improvement, it is time to address the problem formally. The steps you’ll take will depend on the regulations in your attendance policy and the structure of your company. However, here are the actions you can take:
Step 1: Provide Counseling
As the manager, you can schedule counseling sessions with the employee. These meetings can also be handled by an HR representative. In the sessions, the facilitator will lay out what the company expects in terms of attendance and productivity. Moreover, they will explain the gravity of excessive absences.
Step 2: Deliver a Verbal Notice
When it reaches this stage, you’ll have to discuss the implications of the employee’s unplanned absence. Moreover, if there is no improvement in their behavior, the eventual result is termination.
Step 3: Give a Written Memo
If the employee still keeps missing work, it’s time to give them a formal written warning. What’s more, the memo will be in their employment record for a specified period.
Step 4: Suspend the Employee Temporarily
If the unplanned absences continue, you can let the HR department proceed with the temporary suspension of the employee. The employee will receive a written memo regarding the action.
Step 5: Terminate the Employee
If the employee continues with their behavior, then it’s time to terminate their contract.
Addressing employee attendance issues can be difficult. However, absenteeism is a problem that you cannot simply ignore. Our best tip is to try to fix this issue at the earliest possible stage. You can spot this kind of behavior by using tools for tracking productivity.