Even for the salaried professional, it is not uncommon to fill out a timesheet that aids payroll in providing paychecks and tracking vacation, sick, and other time off.
For employees who work in the field in particular, establishing a sign-out board is a good way to keep track of employees’ whereabouts and time of exit or return. If an employee needs to be reached, the board can assist by identifying the person’s destination(s). When checking up on an employee is in order, a manager can record the whereabouts stated and confirm whether or not the visit occurred as stated.
Management Tracking of Absences
Monitor excessive absences and take immediate action by way of counseling and discipline if necessary. On the reverse, it is also important to be sure employees take their proper time off to prevent burnout and decreases in morale, or loss of time off benefits. Remind employees of the importance of attendance, not just for company but personal performance.
Though it is a basic job expectation to attend work, sometimes it is taken for granted; it certainly does not hurt to remind employees of the importance of timeliness, which includes being on time for work and appointments with customers or clients. Instituting a reward system that could include a simple certificate serves this purpose and encourages employees to continue to value attendance.
Document, Explain and Enforce Leave and Absence Categories
To save confusion and aggravation on both the manager’s and employee’s part, establish a policy about the company’s exact definitions of all types of absences allowed, and the steps that need to be taken to honor the time off. Companies may allow sick time, but some may only allow it for an actual sickness; another company may allow it for medical appointments or child’s illness. Vacation time should be explained. Personal days are offered in some companies. It should be explained if this includes vacation, bereavement, or other types of time off benefits. It is important to be consistent among all employees within a category (hourly, salaried, management or non-management) in terms of allowed time off, how to request it, and management approval procedures.
Plan to Cover for Leaves of Absence
In the case of employee extended illness, pregnancy, or resignation announcement, be sure you plan accordingly to cover all business processes. This is not something that should be done last minute; coverage should be planned as soon as the manager learns of the need.
Dealing with Misuse
No amount of policy and procedure will eliminate all attendance issues. People are people, and unfortunately sometimes they take things for granted or take advantage if they feel treated unfairly. A manager can do all she/he can to ensure employees feel productive and necessary, but sometimes employees feel differently anyway. Sometimes these feelings translate to tardiness or taking advantage of sick or other time off. In these cases it is best to document excessive time off and to schedule a session with the employee to discuss reasons that might be occurring. Be clear about the dates, times and amount of instances in question. Also be sure the employee understands how his/her absence not only appeared to be abusive but also affected the business flow. The employee may have a good reason for taking the time off. Ask to assist with any issue or offer assistance through human resources. Many companies offer employee assistance programs that could include therapist sessions.
Many times the initial nonjudgmental counseling is enough to correct the behavior. If not, human resources can and should intervene to execute a counseling procedure that is documented and placed in the employee file. Be sure the employee understands this can and will occur if things do not change, and be sure to mention the consequences for continued behavior issues, which could include dismissal.
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