6 Best Practices for Managing Employee Attendance Issues + Sample Policy
This article is part of a larger series on Time & Attendance.
In order for your small business to thrive, it is vital that your employees are showing up for work. Excessive absences from your workers can result in a significant impact on your business’ productivity. One way to combat this problem is to have an attendance policy in place and keep your employees accountable. We have listed six best practices for managing your employee’s attendance below.
While there are different ways to track your employees’ time and attendance, using software like Homebase enables you to manage employee scheduling and track their time, helping you improve communication and boost accountability among your staff. For small businesses with only one location, Homebase is FREE. Try it today.
1. Develop a Comprehensive Attendance Policy
A formal attendance policy allows you to set consistent expectations throughout your organization. These rules communicate to your team members what the expectation specifically is and that you intend to enforce these rules fairly and consistently. Once you establish attendance rules for the workplace, share them with the entire company and enforce them.
2. Use Time Tracking Software
Using time and attendance software can keep your employees accountable and reduce absenteeism. This type of tool allows small businesses to use an online platform for not just time tracking but also for vacation and sick time, scheduling, and other facets of employee management.
3. Measure Performance
Your measurement of employee performance should have a direct correlation with attendance. By making attendance a performance issue that employees are measured against, the employee should easily understand what the repercussions are for not complying. If you have accurate time and attendance tracking, you can rank employees based on their attendance and performance therein.
Consider rewarding employees for excellent performance. If you want to create a culture and system that encourages employees to show up for work, then find ways to incentivize them. These do not have to be expensive programs—you can develop ways to entice your team members (free movie tickets or free $50 Visa gift cards).
Much of the time you will find that simple public acknowledgment directed at well-performing employees goes a long way. Try acknowledging employees during team meetings or on your company message board.
4. Discuss Attendance Issues
Do not wait until a scheduled one-on-one meeting or the annual evaluation to discuss performance and attendance issues with employees. Supervisors should take the initiative to address these issues immediately with staff as every supervisor must be accountable for their teams’ attendance and overall productivity. It is important to set clear expectations with employees before any issues arise—and if you have a clear plan in place to handle concerns immediately, then it will likely lead to changed behavior.
Scheduling team training or a development workshop that includes managing employee attendance and performance-related segments will keep employees educated on what is expected. This is a time that you can discuss attendance and performance issues. Additionally, topics like communication and equality in the workplace can build trust and loyalty for the company.
5. Offer Adequate Time Off
Companies that offer robust paid time off (PTO) benefits see a rise in attendance and productivity among their employees. If you offer ample time away from the workplace, then employees will, more than likely, develop a habit of scheduling their days off (as opposed to the unscheduled call-outs). This will allow you to find replacement coverage, move project deadlines, and balance workloads throughout teams.
Creating industry-leading PTO policies and benefits will help you retain and attract top talent, as PTO is one of the most sought-after benefits by employees today.
6. Provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Although commonly overlooked as a cost-effective, easily offered employee benefit, EAPs are terrific tools to allow employees access to third-party, anonymous (for the employee) assistance. When it comes to attendance issues, sometimes employees are simply experiencing a challenging time in their life and need someone to talk to.
EAPs can help by providing a buffet of services that range from counseling referrals to financial guidance, initial legal counseling, fitness, and healthy diet webinars. The idea is that, in many cases, an EAP can provide support through one of its programs, which in turn can help the employee deal with personal issues that might be affecting their attendance.
EAPs are delivered at no cost to employees as part of a company’s health insurance plan. Providers like ADP TotalSource, offer EAPs through its Professional Employer Organization (PEO), which provides payroll and benefits to your employees.
The Most Common Employee Attendance Challenges
There are many reasons employees show up late for work or call in to notify you of their absence. These can range from illness to lack of motivation. According to a study by CareerBuilder, about one-third of employees who call out sick for the day are truly sick. Additionally, When I Work states that one in four workers admits to running late at least once each month. Having an attendance policy in place can help ease employee absence due to the following:
Sickness or Illness
The most common reason employees do not report to work are sickness or bodily injury. These can be due to:
- Flu and/or the common cold
- Back pain
- Injury caused by accident
While there are employees who abuse sick days by calling in when they are well, it is required in some states that an employer provide paid sick leave to their employees.
According to a study by the Integrated Benefits Institute, lost time from absenteeism due to COVID-19 is estimated to cost US companies in excess of $20 billion.
Sickness or Illness of a Family Member
It is inevitable children (and other family members) will become sick at some point during the year and your employees must take time off to care for them. As a business owner, you must adhere to the FMLA’s family leave laws.
Dissatisfaction With Job
Many employees suffer from stress, anxiety, or depression as a direct result of their jobs. This can lead to a lack of desire to go to work and a drop in performance. When this happens, employees are more likely to call out regularly.
Work-related stress can be created by:
- Long hours
- Intense workload
- Conflicts with co-workers or boss
- Lack of job security
Seeking Other Employment
You may think that you offer an enticing work environment and every employee is happy and productive—but the reality is that some of your employees are looking for work elsewhere. When an employee is looking for another job, they are likely to take time off to attend interviews.
According to a recent study, approximately 52% of employees will look for a new job in 2021, with 25% of those citing a lack of work–life balance as the reason.
Lack of Motivation
Some employees simply lack the motivation to show up for work. This can be because they are unhappy in their jobs or just don’t have the drive to work. The aforementioned CareerBuilder poll notes that 28% who call in “do not feel like going to work” and make up an excuse for their absence. Additionally, at 24% is “just needing to relax.”
The industry you are in can also contribute to the nature and number of call-outs. For example, if you are in the foodservice industry, you may have policies that prevent ill employees from reporting to the workplace. Likewise, construction industry jobs that are physically demanding and outdoors often result in fatigue and, at times, disenchanted workers who simply choose to take a day off.
The retail industry also has many explanations of why absenteeism is such an ongoing challenge. Within it, there are many first-time workers in entry-level jobs with heavy daily interaction with customers—which can quickly wear employees down.
It is not uncommon for employees to call in sick when they are well. While absenteeism creates a difficult workplace, it can be avoided. By developing a fair attendance policy that addresses these matters adequately, your company can save money and reduce absenteeism.
Additionally, offering a robust paid time off policy that includes vacation time and sick time can decrease the number of times workers do not show up for work. Consider using Homebase to track your employees’ time and attendance. You can start using it for free.