Alex just called in sick — again. Was that the third Friday or the fourth? You make a mental note to look it up later, but in the rush of the day, it’s forgotten. Besides, going through those filing cabinets and looking for the information is, well, overwhelming. Maybe next time.
If you care about your business, you need to keep an eye on staff absences.
Let’s start with the simple aspect of employee absenteeism: your employee is not at work when you need him there to work. And that makes your life harder. It could mean longer lines, missed deadlines, late appointments, or even customers who walk away. This is big stuff. This is your business.
So why aren’t you watching employee absences for patterns or abuse? Wait … I know.
Charging up the Excuse-o-Meter …
Waiting for the answer to pop up on the state-of-the-art screen (one of those cool “floating in midair” kind) …
Ah, got it!
And the answer is …
… Three common excuses:
- It’s too hard to look through the employee records to find patterns, and I have more important things to do.
- I don’t like confronting employees. It’s uncomfortable, and they always seem to have an excuse.
- If they miss too much work, I can always fire them. Who needs to worry about patterns?
No matter how awkward or inconvenient it seems to be, you have to keep track of employee absences. And when they happen over and over and over again, you need find out why. We said it before, but we will say it again: Your business depends on it!
Allowing staff absences to go unchecked can destroy employee morale, wipe out customer service, raise accident and error rates and even expose your business to charges of discrimination if some employees “get away with it” and some don’t.
Enter, the Lowly Employee Calendar
- Size matters. You have to find a calendar that either has really big squares (so you can easily write on it), or you need to use an online or software calendar (so there’s room to note everything you need to record).
- Location, location, location. You need to be able to get to your calendar whenever you need it. Having one awesome wall-mounted calendar in your office won’t help you if you frequently spend the day at a satellite location. (It is NOT looking good for that puppy calendar).
- And the final answer is … you need to actually use it!
How to Use the Calendar Once You Have It
It’s not so much that we’re trying to keep it simple … the fact is it really is simple.
- Every time an employee calls off, write it down on the calendar. Also write down or enter the excuse given. Do the same for scheduled employee time off. Every time. No more “filing cabinet” excuses! Once a month or so, take time to review the absences, look for patterns, either in the days missed or the excuses given.
- Address the issues with your employees. With the calendar handy, it’s easier to point out the patterns and harder for employees to make excuses. (If medical issues are involved, make sure it’s not something covered by FMLA protection).
- Set an attendance goal with the problem employee. Make a note to yourself to follow up in another month.
And that’s it. That simple employee calendar can help you spot the problem, gather the evidence, and effectively talk with your employee about the issue. Simple solution, simple plan, great results.