When absenteeism is a problem in your company, you need a plan to make it better. Your employee attendance policy helps to identify problem areas, incentivize good attendance behaviors, and provide the structure to implement the consequences for poor attendance.
But the question remains, how do you address the underlying issues that lead to an employee’s chronic absenteeism?
(For more in-depth information on minimizing employee absenteeism, check out our free Attendance Policy guide).
When an employee exhibits chronic absenteeism, the company’s first objective should be to find a solution to prevent it from reoccurring. The first step to finding a solution is through quality employee counseling.
In order for the counseling session to be effective, you must approach it free of judgment and criticism, with respect for the employee as an individual and with a willingness to hear them out. Thanks to employee counseling, a clear understanding of the reasons behind an employee missing so much work can be attained.
It’s also an opportunity to communicate the importance of attendance and begin a discussion about how to change the employee’s behavior, while underlining the consequences of not following through after the counseling.
Formulating a Plan
With a better understanding of the underlying reasons for the employee’s frequent absenteeism, you can now introduce a growth plan that will provide an opportunity for the employee to make a real and lasting change. A 30-day timeframe is usually used, following which the employee’s performance is reviewed.
Consider including the following in your 30-day performance improvement plan:
- A comprehensive and objective list of the employee’s performance and absence issues.
- Goals that the employee must achieve during these 30 days. Be sure that these goals follow the SMART criteria (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based).
- Evidence of improved productivity or performance at work.
- A written account from the employee’s manager or supervisor of the improvements observed, or other recommendations.
- A perfect attendance record during the 30 days with no absences or tardiness.
- A timetable for next steps and follow-up.
- A section that details the consequences if the employee doesn’t remain on track or falls short of the performance improvement plans goals.
Although the consequences of not adhering to the plan must be made clear, the overall tone and approach should be positive, with an objective of helping the employee to improve. This type of positive approach to counseling and improvement planning is the best way to achieve buy-in from the employee in question.
While ATS is passionate about time and attendance and excited to support organizations navigate workforce dynamics around timekeeping, we recommend you reach out to your regional and/or local HR chapter for more information on common workplace advice and procedures.