Your employees are a vital part of your business. An engaged team can do wonders for your company, and helps maintain morale as successes pile on top of each other.
But especially in challenging times like now, it can be a challenge to maintain morale and momentum. Many companies have allowed employees to work remotely, but have not updated their policies to match.
Now that we are living in a pandemic, it's even more important to take employee attendance and engagement seriously. Ignoring issues does not only mean possible loss of revenue for the business, but can seriously lower the whole team and company's morale. Consider:
- Other employees can't ignore excessive absenteeism in a colleague, because they are stuck picking up the slack for them.
- Deadlines may be missed and additional costs/fines incurred for the company.
- Seeing no action done for excessive absenteeism may lower team morale and risk alienating your working employees.
While you should not be tying your staff to their desks during working hours, neither should you ignore attendance issues like this -- both for the business and the employee's benefit.
It's a challenge that needs to be addressed. We have some important tips for you if you have to address issues like this.
Ensure Your Attendance Policy is In Writing
Make sure you put your attendance policy in writing. This may be in the employee handbook, the intranet documentation, or other channels.
Make sure this is accessible to your employees, so that they are aware of what repercussions are there for excessive absenteeism. They also need to be aware of what process to follow if they need to report their tardiness or leave-taking.
For 2020: Now that many employees are working remotely and physical offices may be empty, make sure that your policies are digitized, whether in PDF form for employees to browse, or in your company intranet.
Don't have a document sharing platform? Try putting your documents on Google Drive. But make sure that permissions are set correctly so access is controlled.
Track Employee Attendance Well Reliably
Make sure you are tracking attendance reliably and well. Of course, your employees must know the company process and internal system, too. This helps maintain information integrity and means less work for everyone overall.
While it might be tempting for leaner companies to postpone formal attendance tracking to a later date, make sure someone is doing it, even if manually. This data will be important when addressing any attendance concerns.
For 2020: Many workforces have resorted to morning "check-ins", whether via a team chat or other medium, now that many people are working from the safety of their homes. But make sure that someone is taking note of these check-ins to ensure proper tracking.
An alternative is using a cloud-based attendance tracking software like Load One's solution (ask us about it!), to formalize the process and free up your managers' time from needing to manually track and report attendance.
Express Your Concern
For first-time offenders, it's all right to breach the subject more casually. Either way, make sure employees are aware that you have noticed, and emphasize that their welfare is important to you. After all, especially in the current climate, many people are struggling and may have understandable reasons for absenteeism.
For 2020: It's a challenge when teams are not able to meet face to face. Make sure you address issues with a phone call at the very least--a video call would be better. Many subtle cues can get lost with a voice call, much less an impersonal email. It's also good to remember that there are unique challenges in today's world. Leading with understanding and kindness can help you maintain your employees' loyalty and morale.
Work With Them On a Solution
Work on a plan of action or improvement plan with the employee. Depending on their reasons for tardiness or absences, work with them to come up with a solution or improvement plan.
Perhaps they have extra workload they may need to address at home before they get to work, or a personal issue they are dealing with currently. Perhaps they need temporary adjustment of their working hours. Some employees may need a more formalized leave of absence to take care of their health.
Discuss your employee's needs with them and work out what they need from you so that they can address the issue and continue contributing to the team.
Take Care of Your Team
Remember that it's important to find out the root cause of your employee's excessive tardiness or absenteeism. While it might sometimes be tempting to write it off as a flaw or negative mark in their record, many times there are underlying issues that can be easily addressed with an honest conversation.
Taking care of one individual will help the team. Additionally, it's generally easier to work with an employee on a solution rather than letting them go and finding a new team member. A successful improvement plan can leave your employee feeling extra grateful and loyal to you and your company, as well.
While there is no silver bullet when it comes to tackling attendance issues, communicating with your team will help. Starting with the basics can help you improve employee attendance and engagement, and therefore uplift your business.