Whether you've run a company for years or are making your first foray into the business world, how you deal with a regularly tardy or absent employee will go a long way in determining your company's success.
Inevitably, you or one of your managers will at some point deal with someone who makes it a habit of being late for work or calling in sick on a regular basis, creating time and attendance issues for your business.
While there are excusable absences, taking advantage of being more than a few minutes late once every now and then or using a sick day and heading to the beach do not fall under the excusable definition.
As the head of the company or as a department manager, how will you address such individuals who try and work the system, putting other employees at a disadvantage?
The reasons for such actions can include:
- You don't have a set time and attendance policy in place, meaning certain employees are "pushing the envelope" to see what they can and can't get away with;
- The manager in charge of the department where the time and attendance issues are emanating from is not enforcing the rules;
- You yourself as the owner or department manager come and go at your own leisure, thereby not setting the tone for the company;
- Office morale is suffering and employees have brought an "I don't care" attitude with them to the workplace.
Rectify the Problem Now and Not Later
Whatever the problem is, it is best to nip it in the bud now.
Call an office meeting and get a feel for the general mood at the time. Are employees upbeat or is there a sense of gloom and doom in the office?
If things are upbeat, why then is one or more employees causing problems? If it is one or two individuals, then it should be an easier fix. A warning or warnings should suffice, leading up to possible discipline and/or termination.
In the event things are down in the office and employees are coming and going as they please, then you need to wrap your arms around the problem quickly. Have you lost credibility as the business owner or as a department manager? Have you turned off the very people you've tried to turn on to doing what is best for the company?
Either way, employee tardiness and unusual absences should lead you to review your office time and attendance policy.
Employees do legitimately get sick; do have doctor appointments or matters with their children that must be tended to during the 9-5 day, and do have transportation issues that can impact their being on time for work. Review each case and if a pattern develops, deal with it quickly and appropriately.
If your goal is to have a fair and clear time and attendance policy, you have to set the tone, not the employees.
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