Dealing with ‘time-consuming’ employees: Part 2 – Attendance

Any business owner responsible for staff will tell you what a time-consuming process managing employees can be.  It always seems to be the case that some employees are more time-consuming than others though…

In part one of this blog, we looked at time-keeping and how to deal with repeat offenders.  This time, we turn to the issue of attendance. Although very few employees have a 100% attendance record, there’s usually the odd one or two members of staff in a business that seem to get ill, or otherwise require days off, more than others.

Unfortunately, this can be very tricky territory for employers  as even if you suspect an employer is abusing the system or taking ‘sickies’ illegitimately, it can be very difficult to prove.

Here are some suggested steps for dealing with attendance issues.

Return to work interviews

One tactic for proactively dealing with absenteeism (legitimate or otherwise) is to conduct return to work interviews. These should be used to get a better understanding of why the employee has been off and to check they are now ok. These interviews can be informal in nature but should be completed as soon as is feasibly possible and after each period of absence.

Attendance as a KPI

Using absence as one of your company’s key performance indicators (KPI’s) has been found to have a positive effect on managing absence.  If you have an absence target in place and this is proactively measured, it goes to show employees what is and what isn’t considered ‘normal’ and also demonstrates that your business takes attendance seriously.

Review your absence policy

Is your absence policy fit for purpose or does it need an upgrade?  Is it too lenient?  If there are no perceivable penalties for non-attendance at work, perhaps you need to tighten the rules.  If you don’t have an absence policy, you need to set about creating one!

Get to the cause of the issue

Persistent absenteeism is likely to be linked to something else and will almost certainly have an underlying cause.  This could be as a result of personal issues being experienced by the employee or  may relate to something in the workplace that is causing them difficulty.

Where a pattern of absence is present, ensure this is discussed with the employee in a timely manner.  There may be things you can do as an employer that would help – for example offering more flexible working patterns – that could iron out the issue with absenteeism.

If absenteeism is because of work-related issues, these obviously need to be addressed. It can be difficult to initiate disciplinary action in this area, taking account of discrimination relating to any disability, however, it’s not impossible.  For further help in tackling attendance and absenteeism in your business, please contact us here.