Employee attendance can sometimes become a problem that needs to be dealt with. If a member of staff is constantly coming in late, leaving early, or taking time off sick then it is important to find out why this is happening. Losing staff should always be the last option so when dealing with employee attendance it is important that the manager shows compassion and understanding while at the same time being firm and working in the best interest of the business. Employee attendance problems can cause great difficulties if the situation is not handled effectively.
The first thing when dealing with employee attendance is to determine exactly what the problem is. Maybe the employee has children, and they are having problems with their child minder arriving late or calling in sick. Maybe their children are playing up in the mornings. It could also be the case that the employee has some type of substance abuse problem that is affecting their ability to come to work. Perhaps your staff member’s employee attendance is being adversely affected by some illness that they haven’t shared with the management out of fear or other reasons. It could just be that your employee can’t get out of bed in the morning, and it is this that is causing the problem with employee attendance.
When dealing with employee attendance good communication is vital. Give the staff member the chance to discuss what is going in their life, and try to be as understanding as possible. Of course you will need to explain their position in relation to the job, and you can try to come to some arrangement as to how best approach the problem. If the employee admits that they have some type of alcohol or drug problem then you might be able to allow them some time off to get help. If they have some other illness then it will be necessary to arrange some sick leave. If the employee is having child care difficulties then maybe you can make suggestions here. You might even decide to change the member of staff onto afternoon shifts if they are just not a morning person. When it comes to employee attendance most problems can be resolved with good communication.
Sometimes employee attendance can become so bad that action needs to be taken. If you have tried the ‘let’s talk about it’ and this has failed to bring any positive change then it may be time to start penalizing the employee. One way of approaching this is by giving a verbal warning and if this has not effect then you will need to move onto a written warning. It is vital that you keep careful documentations of any warnings and of employee attendance. In rare cases you will just not be able to resolve the employee attendance problem and in this instance you will probably have to let that member of staff go; this should always be after every other option has been tried and you will also be expected to fulfil your legal requirements in regards to this. If the employee is a member of a trade union then a representative will need to be involved from the start.