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Updated: December 12, 2022 101

101: Excessive absenteeism

Excessive work absenteeism is when an employee shows a pattern of missing work: Calling out last minute, with or without a reason; arriving late on a regular basis; taking extended lunches; and spending long periods away from their workstations. Those workflow interruptions impact other aspects of the business: causing stress to other employees, hindering the work culture overall, reducing productivity, and costing the company revenue.

Don’t assume it’s laziness, especially if their absenteeism is out of the norm. It’s an easy assumption to decide someone is not interested in their job. Sheila Stafford, CEO of employee-absence tracking tech company TeamSense says to listen. “You’ll never know until you ask,” she says in the company blog. “Focusing on the symptoms of chronic absenteeism versus addressing the root cause can result in unnecessary turnover and wasted time on your part.” Loop in human resources on what questions you shouldn’t ask.

Foster good attendance to prevent attendance issues from bubbling up in the first place, according to Indeed for Employers. Some ways to do this include encouraging a healthy work-life balance: Employees who don’t feel stressed at work are less likely to miss shifts. Being transparent is helpful, such as talking to employees face to face before taking any corrective action and giving them an opportunity to adjust their behavior. Rewarding good attendance with small prizes promotes positive change.

Disciplinary measures should be well established in the employee handbook. They should follow certain steps, such as verbal warning, written warning, meeting with direct supervisor, unpaid suspension, and then termination. “Ensure that there’s a clear and specific, albeit simple, absence policy in place,” advises the Professional Leadership Institute. This way, there are no surprises. The rules are the same for everyone, and discipline is carried out step by step.

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