One of the best ways to control absenteeism is to create an atmosphere where good attendance is valued and poor attendance is dealt with accordingly. By establishing reward and discipline programs, employees will understand that attendance is important, valued and rewarded.
If your employees are pushing the envelope on tardiness and absenteeism, maybe it’s because you haven’t clearly defined what’s acceptable and what’s not.
It’s up to management to set clear attendance expectations. To get everyone in your company on the same page, here are some ways you can clearly define the do’s and don’ts of your attendance policy:
1. Set clear expectations
If you’re fine with people leaving the office when their work for the day is done, say so. However, if your staff needs to be in the office for a certain length of time each day, then you’ll need to set specific work hours and inform your entire workforce.
Let your employees know how much leeway they have before you consider them late — and at what point you consider them absent. Do you expect them to contact you if they’ll be late? Tell them.
2. Define paid vs. unpaid time off
If your company offers paid sick or vacation days, explain your policy for requesting time off, including any deadlines or restrictions.
For example, if your busy season is December, it is important that employees know this up front so they can manage their time off. You should also define the terms and conditions for paid holidays, as well as military, religious, jury duty, and family and medical leave.
3. Create a disciplinary policy — and stick to it
To make sure every employee is fully aware of the rules, your policy should be documented in your employee handbook. In addition to documenting the policy, be sure to explain the disciplinary procedures that pertain to employees who violate the policy.
Ask your employees to sign an acknowledgment document indicating that they read and understood the policies. Should you end up in court, this can protect your company from charges of favoritism or discrimination.
4. Get your employees on board
Your employees will be less likely to feel singled out and resent your attendance policy if it’s consistent company-wide. Treating your employees fairly and consistently in all aspects of employment will help you build a trusting environment where employees feel respected and motivated.
Take the time to talk to your employees about the importance of an attendance policy. Explaining how their absence affects productivity and objectives can help them understand where you’re coming from.
5. Lead by example
If you’re late every day, leave early once or twice a week or play hooky regularly, you’re giving unspoken permission to your staff to do the same. Not acceptable? Then it’s time you consider creating a written time and attendance policy that all employees — including management — are expected to adhere to.
Tracking employee attendance is important to your business. A well-developed attendance policy can help you get back to the business of business, instead of constantly addressing issues of tardiness and absenteeism.
About Kellie Boysen – Owner, Alternative HR:
Kellie Boysen is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) with more than a decade of HR experience. She owns Alternative HR, a local human resource consulting and outsourcing organization that is dedicated to providing small business owners with an affordable alternative to hiring a full-time HR professional.