How to get on top of employee attendance problems

Let staff attendance problems fester and you could be storing up bigger issues than you realise. Here’s how to nip things in the bud quickly

Every company deals with employee attendance problems, but some of the best companies know how to get a handle on those problems before they become an epidemic.

It doesn’t matter how many employees the company has, attendance problems will crop up eventually. If your company does not get a handle on employee attendance problems quickly enough employees might get the idea that they can take advantage of the system.

Here we discuss the best methods for handling employee attendance problems.

Create a guide on attendance

One of the most important things a company can do when trying to get a handle on employee attendance problems is to create a comprehensive guide on the attendance policies. The guide should be created either electronically, on paper, or both and distributed to all employees.

Every policy at your company that covers family, medical, paid time off, sick time, required report time and more should be included in the guide. A comprehensive guide on your company’s attendance policies will make it easier for employees to read, understand, learn and reference when needed.

Establish expectations

In order to avoid attendance problems, establish expectations with employees from their first day on the job. In fact, go as far as explaining leave and attendance policies during the interview process. This is when you can outline how many days per year the employees are given for paid time off, holidays, sick and family or medical leave.

Explain to the employees when they are allowed to take time off, if there is a specific time of year where it is limited, how it is approved, how it can be requested and who approves leave and time off requests.

Remind employees quarterly

There is no harm in reminding your employees every so often about the leave and attendance policies at your company. In fact, it might be a good idea to remind employees each quarter about these policies and where they can find all the information on them. When reminding employees, make sure you discuss ‘use-it-or-lose it’ policies, call-out procedures, peak workload rules and contact information.

Put rules in place

Be sure to put rules in place at your company that handle attendance problems and can be documented using absence management software. Some of the rules you should establish include the following:

  • Hand out an informational brochure to every employee who does not call the office about an absence.
  • Every request for leave should be documented, and if possible, done so in advance.
  • Every use of sick leave by an employee should be accompanied by a note from a doctor.
  • Abuse of attendance at your company, by any employee, should lead to notification of your concern and then of their responsibility to the company.
  • Employees who continue to abuse the attendance policy after being notified (previous point) should have restrictions placed on their leave.
  • Never discuss attendance problems of employees with other employees. Only discuss these issues with the company lawyer, human resource department or their direct supervisor.

Document problems and share with employee

Attendance problems can be solved by simply documenting those issues and sharing with the employee. If you write a memorandum about an employee, be sure to share it with him or her, not just file it away in their personnel folder.

There is no reason to keep a secret record of the attendance problems, even when time and attendance systems make it easy to save documents. When you show the employee documented concerns it sends a clear message to them that you see what is happening and that you are paying attention.

It lets the employee know that what they are doing is not going unnoticed.

Solve issues promptly

Do not wait to solve attendance issues at the office. When you solve them promptly, you make it easier to get a handle of them and possibly prevent others from abusing the system in the future.

Start solving the attendance issue with a counseling session and document it. If you need to move to tougher penalties, do so, but make sure everything is documented.

Utilise human resources

Do not be afraid to utilise human resources. They are there for a reason and can be a major help in almost every attendance problem.

Contact human resources prior to the attendance issue getting out of control. This means, at the first sign of a minor problem, consult human resources to see if they can get in front of the issue with a quick reminder about attendance policies at the office.

Family and medical leave tracking software can also help quell any attendance problems that crop up at the office. You can log all requests as they come in and are approved.

The longer you let attendance problems fester, the worse they become. When employees are constantly missing work, for no reason, other employees get tired of picking up the slack and morale can suffer immensely.

Pierce Ivory is digital marketing director at Advance Systems. Since 2014 he has contributed articles and copy to the Advance Systems blog and website. 

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