You have worked hard on your new employee attendance policy. Now, it’s time to roll it out and introduce it to your employees. But an important aspect of how well it will be accepted is the way in which it is communicated. It’s a good idea to have a well-thought-out communication plan in place before announcing your new policy.
Some Things to Consider
If your new employee attendance policy is replacing an outdated one that was previously in place, think about how well it performed and whether or not managers and supervisors held employees accountable to it. If employees were not held accountable, it’s important to find out why. Introducing a new policy may not be enough to change the existing attitudes of managers.
You may be introducing your new policy to a workforce that is already exhibiting unacceptable absenteeism, in which case the communication may need to be targeted to problem areas or department and presented in harsher terms.
Will you want to communicate the policy differently to exempt employees than you will to non-exempt employees? Some companies allow for greater leniency in the implementation of the attendance policy for exempt employees because they are not required to pay the overtime. Attendance for exempt employees can be further improved by allowing for work-from-home opportunities or flextime.
Be sure that your new employee attendance policy is integrated with your other related policies, such as bereavement, sick pay, jury duty and other leave of absence policies.
The Communication Plan
A thorough communication plan will be useful to effectively inform your employees of the new policy while minimizing the risk of morale issues arising from the changes. The following steps may be helpful to ensure your communication plan is successful.
Begin by introducing the new employee attendance policy to managers and supervisors. They should become familiar with it so that they can answer questions from their employees. They will also be setting the tone for employees and will largely be responsible for holding them accountable.
Detail Expectations and Consequences
Employees must have a clear understanding of what is expected of them when it comes to attendance and tardiness. They should also be aware of what the process is to notify the employer if they must be absent or late.
They should also know what will result from not adhering to the policy, whether those consequences include not being eligible for a raise, promotion or a bonus, counseling, or other disciplinary actions.
Explain Tracking Procedures
For non-exempt employees, it may be necessary to keep track of their time at work with greater accuracy. In those instances, time clocks or other timekeeping procedures may be implemented. Employees must understand how these procedures will work and what penalties may arise from attempts to falsify those records, such as punching someone else’s card for them.
Provide a Policy Handbook
Employees should have the ability to refer back to the policy at any time. An employee attendance policy reference guide that fully describes the full scope of the policy will help employees understand how it works.
Your new employee attendance policy that has been carefully designed to reduce absenteeism will be accepted far more readily and therefore be more successful if it’s also supported by a comprehensive communication plan.
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.