Overall employee attendance is one of the greatest predictors of company performance; it’s pivotal to get a firm handle on things. Far too many managers take a soft approach to attendance, allowing it to becomes an organizational culture problem. This is a grave mistake, which directly impacts the bottom line.

It’s obvious occasional problems crop up and cause employees to be late for work. But what do you do when the “occasional” isn’t occasional anymore, and late arrivals or absences become chronic and habitual? You must fix the problem. Treat it like cancer, because it’s to a business, what cancer is to the body. If left untreated, it spreads. As it spreads, it destroys health. – Here are some basic steps to take.

  1. If you don’t already have one, create a formal attendance policy.
  2. Develop and implement a consistent series of oral and written warnings for all employees.
  3. Document each infraction, and what you did regarding the unacceptable behavior.
  4. Follow-up to see if the behavior improves
  5. Follow your policies and procedures even if it results in terminating the employee. Make sure you have a documented history of warnings and consequences to diminish likelihood of discriminatory claims and/or actions.
  6. Above all else, treat all employees in the same manner.

Attendance policies and enforcement should not be surrounded by fog. Employees should know the expectations, know the consequences, and know that the policy WILL be enforced, every time. If you’re changing the “traditional workplace scene”, you may have to say goodbye to some long standing employees. Some people don’t like change and will resist. Some don’t like accountability and will “test” the waters.Once people start seeing that you’re serious about the standards, and willing to let the axe fall if needed, prevailing attitudes will change. In the end, if you follow the strategy outlined above, you’ll have a much healthier organization. That’s not always easy, but you owe it to the company, and to the employees that are reliable, to take appropriate action.

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