6 Steps To Handle Employee Attendance Issues

Biometric attendance SystemWorkplace employee attendance and absenteeism are of fundamental to industrialised society in 21stcentury which directly affects cost of production. Lost productivity also affects the whole economy and society directly and indirectly. It affects cost, or may reduce the quality, of public and private goods and services. And at the workplace, it adds burden to employers and workers especially at critically important times, or in key processes.

Absence without leave is another form of not attending office when a person has not intimated about his absence in advance or within a reasonable time period. Therefore, it seems necessary for an organization to meticulously assess and analyze various reasons behind an employee

Employee attendance is a matter of concern for every organization as it affects the productivity and profitability of the business. As every employee contributes to achieving the common goals and objectives, ensuring their punctuality and commitment is truly relevant. But the fact remains that some employees tend to avoid work by taking leaves or using various non-accepted ways to avoid coming to office.

Most managers hate dealing with employee attendance issues. It’s a tough situation, and tougher depending on the size of your company. Attendance issues can be tricky because you may not be able to expel an employee who refuses to come in when they should. Instead, you have to work with the employee. While dealing poor employee attendance, the first step in addressing this issue is to understand why it is happening, followed by strategies to correct employee attendance and ways to prevent a similar situation from recurring in the future.

The first thing that you should as an employer is to determine what the reasons are for your employees being absent from work. In many cases, the absences may be due to genuine illness such as a genuine and serious case of food poisoning that would require the employee to remain in bed and away from work. In some cases, however, there may be other reasons why your employees take time off. For example, they may stay away from work because they do not feel that they have enough support ordo not have supervisors who understand their needs, or employees may stay away because they do not have enough support or don’t feel like they have a friendly atmosphere in the workplace. They may also have had a run in with their boss and stayed home from work so they didn’t have to see them or have to deal with the stress of seeing their boss.

They may also take time off because they are facing grievances with management or colleagues at work and wish to avoid certain people who have given them problems
Other factors range from family issues to problems with work colleagues and management. It is important to understand why your employees may be absent from work. It is important for employers to consider the needs of their employees.

Everyone hates Employee Attendance Issues, or E.A.I, now a days. A study conducted by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development revealed that, on an average, UK employees miss around four days of work per year due to health issues. That is almost one-sixth of the working hours in a year. With such attendance records, it is not hard to understand why companies are facing problems related to employee attendance issues at different levels.

6 steps to curbing poor employee attendance

You need a clear and consistent approach to effectively curb absenteeism. Try these 6 steps:

1.     Make a Policy

HR having an employee handbook that clearly states Attendance policy lays out the expectations is a great way to spell out your policy on absenteeism, as well as the reporting process employees should follow if they’re late or absent. . When things are in black and white, excuses are trwated objectively and critically. This policy shouldn’t just contain information about the number of leaves allowed per person, but it should also spell out the consequences of needless absenteeism.

Generally companies offers “three chances” when it comes to excessive tardiness and absences. While no one ever wants to fire an employee, there are some instances when this is the best option. If an employee can’t seem to show up for work even when they have been warned multiple times, you need to replace them with someone who is willing to work.

Craft a detailed reporting procedure which the employees have to follow in case they intend to skip work and put it in writing. This would ensure that your employees do not take casual absences lightly. 

2.      Striking a conversation: Compile evidence

While scheduling a meeting besure to take time to compile evidence. Before you go for conversation of absenteeismwith individual employees, prepare yourself with examples and the dates and times(facts)when they were late or absent. With data in hand, you may feel more confidentand not defensive  in addressing theproblem  – and they can’t deny it. listen to what your employee has to say. If they have legitimatereasons why they have been absent, then you may need to rethink writing them upfor this offense.Having actual dates and factsto support the claims you are making will help you get your point acrosssetting the tone serious!

3.       Concerned Discussion:

A casual / bad / non serious employee tend to miss work when they see business owner is not looking into day to day affairs. They should be made aware that you have noticed their tardiness and absences. A simple communication  like “I m aware that you have showed late couple of times. What’s the problem? Please let us know the reason. Its more important to follow our process concerning absenteeism. Here’s a copy you can keep for reference.” Thus, one of upper management should on helm of such affairs to get them back on line.

An open-heart one to one discussion is useful tool for sorting different attendance issues. A comfortable space with candid discussion would mellow down the employee when you hear first his grievances and you offer some practical solutions. Tell the employees that while you are not happy with their absences, your first concern is for their well-being. Give them a chance to explain and offer solutions. Their poor attendance record may be the result of a bigger issue. Doing so would enable them to speak with you without any inhibitions. If this approach does not work, you need to be prepared to levy harsh punishments. If the person in question is a valued employee, you need to show a bit of leniency for them. Jumping the gun on firing one of your best employees can lead to lots of productivity problems

4.     Open to communication

An unapproachable manager is failed manager. You need to make sure your team knows they can come to you anytime they have a problem. For any reason your employee needs to miss work, the team should feel comfortable talking to you. Not only can keeping lines of communication open reduce absences, it can make your company run like a well-oiled machine. Investing some time to just to “checkup” on them will let them see you actually care about them and their well-being.

5.     Accommodate Employees

Single point solution for all Employee absences is strictly no. Each situation will be unique and will need to be treated as such. Employees are late because they have to drop their children off to school, while some others m because of a ay not show up because of lack of proper transport arrangements. In each one of these cases, making small accommodations can help rectify absenteeism. Draft a flexible shift schedule that considers employee convenience without hampering your business needs.  In some cases, at times of death or sickness in a family, you will need to offer accommodations to your employees. Showing compassion can be an effective way to keep them loyal to your company for a long time to come. Giving hourly leaves for doctor’s appointment or mother’s visiting creches is another way to accommodate also.


There might be situation when none of your interventions would seem to work. If the absenteeism or tardiness persists, it’s time for formal counseling. Depending on your company’s structure, counseling could come in the form of meetings with the employee’s immediate manager or an HR representative. Lay out your expectations for attendance, and the serious, specific consequences for unexcused absences from work. Consulting advisers who have had years of experience in dealing with employee attendance issues would equip you to handle exigent situations in a delicate manner. More so, these professionals would also be able to suggest business-specific and innovative measures which can ensure compliance, save time and reduce overall employee absenteeism. 

Summing it all up

Poor employee attendance can be a serious issue –one for which many business leaders feel unprepared to address. Yet with the above steps in mind, you’ll help put the brakes on absenteeism, and potentially make your company a happier and more productive workplace.

Today’s workforce does not display a sense of commitment and loyalty to their employers, in fact, the reverse is true.  The working population around the world, both salaried as well as hourly are constantly looking for better opportunities which provide added incentives such as better compensation, other fringe benefits and growth prospects. They may also seek more job security at another organization.

The failure of a single employee, due to absenteeism, may affect the whole organization, especially when it becomes a habit. In other words, employees that do not turn up on time or are inefficient due to their absence bring down the productivity and morale of other staff members.

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