Absenteeism is one of those things that isn’t seen as much of a problem until it actually is. After all, everyone falls ill occasionally or has a family emergency, and it is the job of a manager to ensure that cover is in place. Problems arise when a pattern of behaviour develops and a specific employee has time off every month or even every week. It’s an issue that is currently on the rise and has a massive impact on productivity.
Absenteeism can be a challenge to overcome, particularly when it has become almost an accepted part of company culture, uncommented by the rest of the team. To ensure you deal with it correctly, read the following six top tips:
1. Implement an employee attendance policy
An official attendance policy approved by company directors and HR is the first step to having a transparent process to deal with absenteeism. It should set out clear expectations and guidelines, taking into account various issues such as lateness, planned absences and unauthorised absence, defining the meaning of each of these. The policy should also clearly set out the disciplinary procedure in plain language, so everyone understands the consequences of tardiness, for example.
2. Follow the attendance policy rigorously
However, a policy isn’t worth the paper it’s written on unless it is properly and consistently followed. The benefit of a well-written policy is that it allows you to demonstrate empathy for genuine excuses, such as family emergencies. An unscheduled absence may trigger a formal review after two or three occasions, while a no-show with no warning may necessitate a tougher plan of action, which is correct as it impacts the entire team.
3. Keep accurate records of staff absences
If you need to follow a disciplinary procedure, it is essential to have accurate records of employee attendance and absence to use as evidence. There are many ways in which you could do this, from tracking apps to a simple spreadsheet. If you don’t keep records of absence and go on to implement a disciplinary procedure or even a termination of employment, you could be vulnerable to legal action. Before following the measures set out in your attendance policy, take advice from Human Resources to ensure that you aren’t inadvertently discriminating against employees with a disability or another protected characteristic that could affect their absenteeism.
4. Don’t leave the problem to fester
If an employee has several repeated absences or fails to turn up for a shift without warning, deal with it promptly. As soon as they return to work, call them into your office for an informal chat about the reasons for the absence and plans moving forward. Leaving it for a few days indicates to the employee in question and other staff members that you do not take absence extremely seriously.
5. Talk to your employees
There may be a valid reason for the absence, so talk to the staff member privately and find out if there are any underlying reasons for the pattern of absenteeism. In some circumstances, you may be able to help them by altering their shifts from mornings to afternoons or offering remote working if they are struggling with childcare. Let your employee know you are open to reasonable suggestions.
6. Reward positive behaviour
As part of reinforcing expectations in the workplace, don’t forget to reward employees with good attendance. Offer incentives in the form of monthly or weekly rewards, such as an extra day’s leave or the chance to choose their own shift pattern. These don’t have to be expensive; research shows that recognition is a strong motivator for overall team performance.
7. Have On Call Lists Ready
The above measures will help you to be a good and fair manager when dealing with absenteeism. Luckily, there is also help at hand in the form of the latest technologies, such as eSolve’s On Call Lists, which works in the following way:
-Employees can voluntarily select themselves on an “on call” list for job slots that they qualify for.
-By selecting themselves on an on call list, employees are agreeing to work if needed.
-eSolve’s Auto Swap function monitors upcoming jobs and automatically assigns staff from on call lists to gaps that open up.
-Managers are able to take control if they wish by manually assigning on call staff to specific jobs.
eSolve’s On Call List eliminates the stress that managers go through when trying to find replacements for last minute absences. Find out more by getting in touch today.