Effective Ways to Handle Poor Attendance at Work

employee attendance

Employee absenteeism can be a serious issue if left unchecked. While some bosses may want to be viewed as laid back and more casual, there is a difference between being laid back and allowing employees get away with behavior that could significantly hurt the company.

Think about the consequences of ignoring the attendance track record of an employee who seems to be making a habit of no-shows. What message does this send to your other employees? Why should they work hard at their jobs, when one of their co-workers seemingly gets off scot-free after habitually missing work? Morale is likely going to suffer. You may even start to lose the trust of your other employees—those who diligently show up to work every day.

Poor employee attendance can be a difficult situation to address for some business owners, and yet it is a situation that definitely needs addressing.

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The Fallout of Employee Absenteeism

Beyond compromising morale, there are further ramifications of unaddressed employee absenteeism that could impact your office. Among such issues are:

  • Productivity suffers. The absence of one employee could slow down your processes and hinder output. This is in turn, negatively affects productivity.
  • Your company’s reputation could suffer. When one employee is repeatedly gone, this does impact your ability to get jobs done and therefore, detrimentally impacts your overall reputation.
  • It could inspire a domino effect. If other employees sense that nothing is being done to curtail this behavior, what is to stop them from being absent.

Poor employee attendance isn’t good for business no matter how you look at it. As the boss, you need to step in and find a solution to what could otherwise become a very problematic situation.

sick days when employees lie

How Do You Tell an Employee to Improve Their Attendance?

As mentioned, this can be a delicate situation. There are tactful and professional ways to approach such a dialogue that demonstrate how serious you are about this issue and still allow the employee a chance to explain their behavior. It is about finding that balance—bosses often have to find this balance; it’s part of what they do.

  1. Make Sure Your Attendance Policy Is in Writing

    First off, your employee handbook should clearly state the company’s policies when it comes to attendance and absenteeism. What are the consequences of excessive absenteeism? When you bring in new hires, make sure to not only share the employee handbook with them, but you might go a step further and specifically point out what the rules are regarding time off, unexcused absences and poor attendance.

  2. Address the Employee

    Having a conversation with someone about their repeated absences can be difficult, but it is necessary. That employee needs to know that you’ve noticed they are frequently gone from work. They also need to know where you stand on the issue. In terms of pretty much any aspect of running a small business, communication is key. Having honest and open dialogues about issues such as employee absenteeism is the first step to coming up with workable solutions.
  3. Don’t Come Off Too Aggressive

    It may be that the employee does have a trying personal issue with which they are dealing. There could be something at home that is affecting their attendance. Expressing your concern in any conversation that you have is a good way to show that the company is there to support them and that you are willing to help them work through potentially difficult personal situations if need be. Employees are human beings; showing empathy and compassion might just help the situation.

  4. Consider Making Accommodations for the Employee

    This is really going to depend on the circumstances surrounding their absences and what you discover as a result of any conversations that you have with that employee. For example, if childcare is becoming a problematic issue, then you could consider giving them a more flexible schedule that allows for some work-from-home time. If there is a medical problem at the core of their absenteeism, you want to ensure that you are in compliance with any state and federal regulations here. You could bring in an HR expert to help you more effectively navigate the situation so that you better understand expectations and requirements.

  5. Think About Next Steps

    If the problem persists and you’ve determined that the absenteeism isn’t necessarily warranted, then you as the boss need to decide what to do next. Do you get that employee counseling? Might it be beneficial for you and the employee to meet with an HR professional in order to come up with a course of action should the behavior persist? Or, is termination called for in this circumstance? The key is to carefully examine all sides of the issue and if you are unsure, bring in a human resource professional, both to help you handle an employee who is habitually absent and also to ensure compliance with all relevant laws.

RELATED: 6 Keys to Effective Employee Discipline >>

Axcet HR Solutions Works with Kansas City Businesses

We’ve helped numerous small businesses across Kansas City deal with issues of employee absenteeism. Such problems can be stressful and take their toll on the company as a whole. You may not have the resources to handle this type of situation on your own. Our experienced HR consultants can walk you through your options and potentially help mediate between you and the employee. Call today and let’s figure out a solution together!

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