8 tips to create an effective employee attendance improvement plan

by Vaishali Badgujar
employee attendance improvement plan

Wondering how to create an employee attendance improvement plan?

Employee absenteeism is a common workplace problem that affects not only the employer but also the employees.

Employees with poor attendance might have to face disciplinary action while other employees have to deal with increased workloads. Employers, on the other hand, would have to bear additional labor costs for the lost productivity.

To avoid these situations, it’s essential to have an attendance improvement plan

In this article, we’ll cover why you need an employee attendance improvement plan and eight excellent tips to help you create one.

This article contains:

(click on the links to jump to a specific section)

Why Do You Need an Employee Attendance Improvement Plan?

How to Create an Employee Attendance Improvement Plan

  1. Draft an Employee Attendance Policy 
  2. Track Attendance Records
  3. Identify The Causes of Absence
  4. Explain The Consequences
  5. Train Supervisors to Deal with Absenteeism
  6. Boost Employee Morale
  7. Allow a Flexible Work Schedule
  8. Provide Employee Counseling

Let’s get started.

Why do you need an employee attendance improvement plan?

From reduced productivity levels and high administration costs to understaffing and pay cuts – employee absenteeism can negatively impact the workplace in several ways.

So, to deal with absenteeism and its effects, you need an employee attendance improvement plan.

An employee attendance improvement plan mainly focuses on improving employee attendance and eliminating absenteeism in the workplace.

However, it can provide several other benefits like:

Now that you know the significance of an employee attendance improvement plan let’s take a look at a few essential tips to draft one.

How to create an employee attendance improvement plan

Here are eight tips that can be your guide to creating an effective employee attendance improvement plan:

1. Draft an employee attendance policy

Creating an employee attendance policy is the first step towards solving any attendance problem.

An employee attendance policy is a detailed document that contains all the attendance-related information your employees need, including attendance expectations, leaves, and more.

This policy also helps you explain disciplinary action for not adhering to the company’s attendance requirements – ensuring that everyone is aware of what they need to avoid.

Additionally, as an employee attendance policy covers various attendance issues and their consequences, it can act as a legal document. 

For example, if your employee claims that they’ve received unfair treatment as a punishment for violating the mentioned guideline, you can refer to the policy. 

This serves as proof that everything was explained to the employee, and they had consented to follow the mentioned regulations.

How to create an attendance policy

A fair employee attendance policy covers a variety of topics, such as:

  • Attendance performance expectation level.
  • Types of excused absence – sick leave, jury duty, etc.
  • FMLA (Family And Medical Leave Act) protected leaves.
  • Importance of regular attendance.
  • Consequences of not following the attendance guidelines.

You can create an employee attendance policy that covers various common attendance problems. These problems can be unscheduled absence, tardiness, personal leaves, etc.

Here’s a detailed employee attendance policy template to help you out.

2. Track attendance records

An employee attendance tracker keeps a reliable record of attendance over long periods of time. You can access this record anytime and anywhere to monitor your employees’ attendance.

Attendance records help you keep track of things, such as:

A. Absenteeism

As attendance records provide an accurate account of attendance, you can take note of absenteeism amongst team members. With a quick follow-up, you can know if your employees are simply slacking off or facing real issues.

B. Vacations

When an employee requests a sick leave or paid-time-off (PTO), an attendance record can help check the eligibility of requested leave against the leave policy. 

It also helps with scheduling time-off for employees in advance, ensuring the availability of enough staff members at any given point.

C. Overwork

Overworking employees can bring down the productivity of the whole team. 

You should keep an eye out for any employee who hasn’t taken a leave in a long time and encourage them to take some time off to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

How to keep a record of attendance

You can use either of the two options to track attendance records:

While using a spreadsheet, like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets is a simple approach, it can be easily tampered with – resulting in inaccuracies. 

Not only that, it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to fill in attendance manually.

However, using attendance tracking and productivity management software like Time Doctor eliminates all the above problems. 

Save time with Time Doctor’s automatic attendance tracking and Work Schedules feature. Check it out here.

Time Doctor provides accurate attendance reports that give a detailed overview of employees who are absent or late each day. Managers can also know the reasons behind their absenteeism. 

Here’s our guide to employee attendance trackers.

3. Identify the causes of absence

Are your employees always calling sick on Mondays? 

Or are they always running late on Thursdays?

If you notice a pattern in an employees’ attendance, point it out to them.

Ask them directly why their scheduled absences tend to fall on certain days, and you can even use the attendance tracker data as proof. 

After having a detailed discussion with the concerned team member, you might find out the cause of excessive absenteeism. 

There’s a high probability that the reason for employee’s absenteeism is non-work-related.  

For example, the absent employee might have an elderly at home to look after, or they might’ve to pick up their child from daycare. 

In the end, the cause of absence or tardiness might not always be due to the employee’s attitude towards work; rather, it could be due to their daily schedule.

How to identify the cause of absence

Want to know the reason behind an employee’s absence?

Communication is key.

Encouraging open communication will not only make room for frank and honest conversations with your employees, but it also will strengthen employee relations. 

Your employees will feel more comfortable discussing the issues behind their frequent unplanned absence.

You can also create a performance improvement plan (PIP) and set goals for a certain time frame. For example, the goals can revolve around reducing the number of absent days in a month. 

But if the employee’s work performance doesn’t improve even after the performance improvement plan and they continue to miss work for no apparent reason – you need to give them a written warning.

manager discussing with employees

4. Explain the consequences

When the frequency of employee absence starts to become a problem, it’s time for you or a supervisor to sit down with the concerned employee and have a serious conversation about it.

But remember, you need to give the employee a chance to explain the reason before warning them of further disciplinary actions.

Oftentimes, all your employees need is a little nudge in the right direction. Giving them a gentle reminder can help you do just that.

How to explain the consequences

Though the employee attendance policy contains a detailed account of the consequences of absenteeism, a little reminder can cause no harm. 

You can give them up to several warnings (for example, three-strikes), asking them to change their behavior. 

Remind them that the failure to do so would result in strict disciplinary actions – such as contract termination, pay cuts, etc.

5. Train supervisors to deal with absenteeism

Attendance improvement policies can only be effective if your management team is on board with them. Managers need to be aware of them and adopt them. 

Moreover, taking the initiative to help chronically absent employees shows that the managers care for their well being.   

For example, a personal phone call by an employee’s manager to inquire about the cause of an unscheduled absence indicates that their supervisor cares. 

How to train supervisors

You can train the supervisors on all types of attendance problems. 

You can start with the basics like attendance and absence policies and then address specific problems. While dealing with a particular issue, you need to train the supervisors on when to take disciplinary actions against the concerned employee.

Additionally, you can also train an employee’s manager in special cases of attendance management, such as dealing with a grieving employee. 

6. Boost employee morale

Lower morale can lead to higher absence rates.

Employees or staff members who feel that their contributions aren’t valued can experience low morale. 

It can lead to less interest in work, performance discrepancy, and eventually lead to absenteeism.

Conversely, engaged and productive employees enjoy their work and make an emotional commitment to it. 

They care about their work and how their efforts contribute to business success. This means that they consistently show up for work and give the best performance in their jobs and roles. 

So, higher morale leads to better employee performance, engagement, and good attendance. You need to constantly find new ways to boost employee morale.

How to boost employee morale

You can boost workplace morale and strengthen employee relations by making a few small changes, such as :

  • Readily listen to employees.
  • Recognize and appreciate achievements.
  • Trust your employees.
  • Send anonymous feedback forms.
  • Ask them for their inputs on how to improve the business.
  • Using employee engagement software to reward employees periodically.

Check out our guide on employee engagement software.

7. Allow a flexible work schedule

An employee can face a shortage of attendance due to several reasons like:

  • Dropping off or picking up children from school.
  • Working part-time (if your organization allows).
  • Illness or injury.

If an employee is not a morning person and has been missing work due to this, then a flexible work schedule can be the answer to their problems.

A flexible work schedule allows employees to work whenever they want and not just the usual 9 to 5. However, they’re required to complete a fixed number of hours in a day.

This helps your employees structure their schedules and prioritize work while accommodating other personal activities – creating a better work-life balance.

How to implement flexible work schedule

You can implement any type of work schedule that’s beneficial for both your organization and employees. 

For example, to increase workplace flexibility, you can adopt a few measures, such as:

  • Allow flexible work timings.
  • Encourage telecommuting with the accelerated COVID pandemic.
  • Create a work from home policy
  • Establish data security guidelines.

Additionally, you can conduct surveys to gain insight into the reasons for their absenteeism and brainstorm towards a solution.

employee counselling

8. Provide employee counseling

When an employee exhibits chronic absenteeism, your focus should be on preventing it from recurring. And the first step towards prevention is quality employee counseling

You can appoint a member of the human resources department for the job. 

But how would counseling help?

The reason behind an employee’s absence could be overwhelming personal issues. 

That’s why special programs like Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) offer help to deal with personal, financial, or work-related issues that might be affecting an employee’s performance. 

But remember, the employee must approach the counseling session free of judgment and criticism for it to be effective. 

How to provide employee counseling

The counselor can come up with a performance improvement program that includes:

  • Goals to be achieved within the set timeframe.
  • A perfect attendance record during the timeframe without any exceptions. 
  • A timetable for the next steps and follow-up meetings.

You can also include accounts of employee’s progress in terms of productivity or work performance – as appreciating your team member’s efforts can boost employee morale.

With a better understanding of the reasons and a growth plan, you can help the employee improve.

Final thought

While there’s no one-fits-all solution for improving employee attendance, having an employee attendance improvement plan always helps.
Use the tips we mentioned here to create an effective attendance improvement plan best suited for your organization. Once you’re done, eliminating employee attendance issues becomes much easier.

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