Looking for an effective call center attendance policy?
Excessive absenteeism, tardiness, and other attendance issues are difficult to manage in a call center. These problems negatively impact agent productivity, team output, customer experience, and business growth.
Fortunately, you can bring these problems under control by setting up an excellent attendance policy.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to create a call center attendance policy to prevent absenteeism and tardiness. We’ll also share a free call center attendance policy template to help you get started.
This article includes:
(Click on a link to go to a particular section)
- What Is A Call Center Attendance Policy?
- How You Can Create An Attendance Policy
- A Free Call Center Attendance Policy Template
- 6 Practical Tips To Reduce Absenteeism
Let’s get started.
What is a call center attendance policy?
A call center attendance policy is a set of guidelines that help managers improve agent productivity by reducing attendance issues.
An attendance policy optimizes agents’ potential by motivating them to have good attendance. It’ll educate your employees on how the company will address tardiness, no-shows, early departures, etc.
You could also use an attendance policy to set limits for sick day leaves, paid leaves, and other day-offs.
How you can create an attendance policy
Here are a few tips that’ll help you create an effective attendance policy for your call center:
1. Set clear expectations and guidelines
Your work attendance policy should clearly define time off or absence and the penalty for them.
Otherwise, your agents may not be able to understand it properly, and the policy may lose its purpose.
Now you can divide agent absence into:
- Approved absence: When agents notify you about the leave a few days or weeks before the absence.
- Unscheduled absence: When agents inform you of their absence a few hours before they miss a shift.
- Tardiness: When agents show up a few minutes late to a shift.
- No-show: When agents don’t show up for a shift without informing you.
- Sick leave: When an agent is absent because of illness.
You should explicitly explain the difference between each absence. You can convey this in an employee handbook.
Check out how you can create a comprehensive employee handbook.
2. Take realistic disciplinary actions
You should create a realistic employee attendance policy that considers the industry’s average standards and the impact the absence has on your business.
For example, if the average absence of an agent is eight days per year, it would be impractical to set it as three days in your employee attendance policy.
Similarly, if an employee is usually given a verbal warning for an excessive absence of 3-4 days, your employee attendance policy should say the same.
You can refer to the employee attendance record and take appropriate steps based on progressive discipline. You should also consider the loss the employee’s absence has created in the firm while taking action.
For instance, if an agent joins forty minutes late for a busy shift, you can consider it a no-show or unexcused absence – as their tardiness may have increased their team’s workload.
This way, your employee may understand the implications of their tardiness and try to start shifts on time.
3. Consider your work culture
Ask all team leaders for their opinions while making an employee attendance policy.
That’ll help you understand each team’s needs, based on which you can create a suitable policy.
For example, maybe most team leaders are fine with an employee starting work at 8 AM due to low call volume in the morning. So you can set start times accordingly.
Additionally, the employee attendance policy should align with your work culture so that your agents won’t be stressed trying to follow the rules.
For example, if a good number of your agents have children, they may have to attend to other responsibilities like picking them up from school or attending school day functions. You’ll need a policy that’ll not penalize working parents for running late by ten minutes.
If you have a zero-tolerance attendance policy (where every violation of a rule is punishable), it might add to your agent’s stress. This can reduce their productivity and affect the quality of the customer service they provide.
4. Consult your employees
You must run each employee through the policy and make sure that it only includes rules that they can follow.
By doing so, you can create an employee attendance policy that your agents agree with.
For example, if more than half of your agents feel that you should increase the number of sick leaves from three to five, you should consider making the change if it’s practical.
You can take appropriate steps to solve their problem if you’re unable to accept their request. In the above case, you can set up an emergency clinic at the call center for employees to rest when they’re sick.
Additionally, your agents may feel more valued when you consult them. This can further increase their commitment to the firm and increase their chances of arriving shifts on time.
5. Set rules empathetically
Stringent rules may increase the number of hours your agents spend working.
But if you want to improve agent experience and productivity, you should set rules keeping employees in mind.
Your agents should be able to take an unplanned absence and time off during emergencies. Your rules should also allow them to take unexpected sick leave, unpaid leave, or excused absences.
For example, your agent may decide to take an FMLA leave (Family And Medical Leave) at the last minute because their babysitter called in sick.
So, you should understand the reason behind your agent’s absence before you take any action.
A free call center attendance policy template
Here’s an employee attendance policy template to help you manage attendance issues:
The [Company Name] will not entertain any employee arriving late, being tardy, or absent. Employees of the [Company Name] are expected to be present for work, on time, every day.
2. Calculation of attendance infractions
The team supervisor will add points to the employees’ account based on a no fault attendance policy (in which employee gains points for attendance violations):
- Unscheduled absence after informing via call: 1 point
- Unscheduled absence without making any calls: 2 points
- Arriving late for shift work: ½ point
- Leaving early during a shift: ½ point
- Returning over 30 minutes late from lunch or break: 1 point
Employees will face appropriate actions depending on the company policy (in section 3) based on the number of points.
They have a grace period of five minutes at the start and end of each scheduled shift, break, and lunch.
They must report an absence according to the [absence reporting procedure] for every day they’re absent.
The absence will be counted as a ‘no-call no-show’ if the worker fails to inform the HR (Human Resource) department or their supervisor of absence at least one hour before the shift.
Attendance infractions reset every [determined time frame, typically six months or a year].
Here is more information about Attendance Point System.
3. Overview of disciplinary action for attendance infractions
Appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken against employees according to this point system:
- 3 points: Verbal warning
- 4 points: Written warning
- 5 points: Meeting with manager or supervisor
- 6 points: Termination
Employees should provide evidence (like doctor’s notes) as proof to excuse absence exceeding three consecutive days.
The agency can terminate an employee without notice if an employee doesn’t call or show up for work for three or more consecutive workdays as it’ll be considered job abandonment.
4. Excused, unpaid absences without disciplinary action
Excused or unpaid absences can be granted for:
- Jury duty
- Medical appointments
- Unavoidable emergencies
Employees must provide documented proof for their absence in the above cases.
5. Failure to clock-in or clock-out
Every employee must check-in and out for each shift. In case of any problems, they should immediately inform the supervisor.
Employees who frequently fail to check-in or out may receive disciplinary action, which may result in termination.
6.Exceptions from attendance policy
Absences because of bereavement, jury duty, or military duty, are exempt from disciplinary action, as they are considered as FMLA and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) related absences.
However, employees must give proper documentation to their supervisor within 48 hours of the absence to prove the bereavement, jury duty, or military duty.
Disclaimer: This template is only a reference to a call center attendance policy and isn’t a legal document accounting for the local, state, or federal laws. Neither the author nor Time Doctor assumes any legal liability that may arise from using this sample template.
6 practical tips to reduce absenteeism
Absenteeism is one of the most common challenges faced by a call center.
This attendance issue can lead to long queues of on-hold customers, poor agent performance, and business loss.
Let’s look at a few tips that’ll help prevent absenteeism in your call center:
1. Hire the right agents
A call center agent should be able to handle stress, rude customers, late-night shifts, and everything else that comes along with working in a call center.
By staffing the call center with unfit employees who may be tardy and unproductive, you might inadvertently create problems within the team.
You have to hire an employee only after making sure they’re cut out for a call center job.
You can do so by conducting aptitude tests to screen out unskilled applicants. Following this, you can run one or two rounds of interviews to test their patience, communication skills, punctuality, and other soft skills that every call center agent must have.
2. Offer rewards tied to attendance
According to a recent survey conducted by Cision PRWeb, 88% of employees feel their employer should reward them for great work.
You should recognize those agents who have perfect attendance according to the attendance occurrence and offer them appropriate incentives or rewards. In rare cases, when an irregular agent and punctual agent are equally productive, you should reward the latter.
By rewarding the agents with regular attendance, you’re setting them as role models for the entire team.
For example, you can offer extra paid time off or free healthcare incentives to the agent who has been most punctual in a 12 month period.
Similarly, you can include attendance as a part of their KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) so that every employee joins work on time to maintain a high KPI score.
3. Build a healthy work environment
The busy and stressful call center environment may demotivate your agents and consequently increase their stress — leading to poor attendance.
You need to include some activities in your agent’s daily schedule that’ll help them battle stress.
For example, you can schedule different breaks of 5 minutes or more (according to the call volume) for all your agents during the shifts.
Similarly, you can also gather your team for fun activities like game nights, team outings, etc. This will help your agents relax and bond with each other.
4. Create flexible schedules
Creating your agents’ schedules in advance will give you a clearer idea about who’ll be working at a particular time.
Your agents can also plan their days based on their work schedule.
They can book a doctor’s appointment or a babysitter in advance according to their shift.
But you should ensure that you create a flexible and friendly schedule.
In a study conducted by Workest, 73% of employees said flexible work schedules increased their work satisfaction.
By creating a flexible schedule, your agents are less likely to be absent at the last minute or face difficulties coming to work on time.
You can create a flexible schedule after consulting your agents about when they would like to work. For example, your night owl agents may find it easier to come for a night shift rather than an afternoon shift.
Similarly, agents who share rides with their spouses can align their schedules with each other as much as possible and book a cab in advance if needed.
5. Ensure employee engagement
A Gallup study reported that highly engaged businesses observed a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
Keeping your agent engaged will help you provide a better customer experience and grow your business.
You can increase your agent engagement by:
- Offering them regular coaching sessions.
- Conducting regular evaluations and giving them appropriate rewards.
- Motivating agents when their confidence is low.
This way, your agents might be motivated to work and maintain good attendance — which can increase their productivity.
6. Build strong relationship with agents
Establishing a good relationship with your agents can help you understand the reasons for their tardiness and guide them to solve the issue.
You can improve the relationship with your agents by:
- Talking to them regularly.
- Giving them honest feedback and advice.
- Being friendly with your agents.
For example, you can hold one-on-one weekly meetings with every employee to ask their opinion about the office environment, colleagues, etc.
This way, your agents may feel more valued and appreciated, which can help increase employee morale.
By building a strong relationship with them, you can easily manage your team and increase its output. Additionally, your agents may feel more committed to you and the company, increasing their productivity.
Employee absenteeism may become difficult to manage after it becomes a habit. That’s why you should tackle it before it takes a toll on your team and the firm.
You can control attendance issues by implementing a comprehensive employee attendance policy that sets guidelines for your agents’ attendance and behavior.
Use the tips and template we shared for attendance management to build a punctual and highly productive team.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.