If you’re a business owner, it can be extremely disheartening to have an employee that is proficient and skilled at their job BUT frequently late or absent from work. While the quality of their work may be excellent their habitual lateness or absenteeism can create morale problems for other employees and impact the overall productivity of the company.
It’s an HR challenge that will rarely go away by itself and therefore should be addressed before it goes on for too long. Here are some action steps that can help to curtail employee lateness and absenteeism:
A Time and Attendance policy that defines the rules for attendance will help reduce employee tardiness and absenteeism. The policy must also detail associated consequences and disciplinary actions if and when such behaviors occur. Make certain that Department Managers and Supervisors review the policy with each member of their team and periodically discuss the established guidelines in departmental meetings.
Make it a point to meet with any employee that is chronically late or absent to discuss the situation and the reasons for their behavior. There may be extenuating circumstances that are causing their persistent lateness or absences, and while you cannot condone their actions, it may be possible for you to offer them options such as changing their work hours or enabling them to work remotely even for a day or two each week. These alternatives may provide them with the necessary flexibility so they may be able to fulfill their responsibilities both at work and in their personal life.
It’s important to be as factual as possible when discussing time and attendance with an employee especially if you need to take disciplinary action. Time and Attendance sheets don’t lie; they will support the fact that the employee hasn’t adhered to the established company policy. While maintaining records might not change behavioral patterns it will certainly help to curtail any employee disagreement about the incidences of these behaviors.
In all instances, it’s important to maintain “your cool” especially when dealing with an employee that is “great” in all other aspects of their job. The goal should be to change behavior and retain the employee. Termination should be a last resort.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.