How to Talk to Employees About Their Attendance

Posted on

April 18th, 2017


shutterstock_174875483It can be difficult for employers to address employee absenteeism for a variety of reasons. Some absences employers can identify as fraudulent. For example, an employee who always calls out sick the day before or after a holiday is likely abusing their sick leave. Another possible misuse of leave could be an employee who always has a family emergency crop up right before a major deadline. While some of these absences may be legitimate, employers who notice attendance patterns need to address it.

How to Discuss the Problem

Employers need to address absenteeism when they first notice it. However, there are good and bad methods of leading an attendance conversation with an employee. Below are several tips for employers to ensure the conversation is productive.

  • Remain aware that the meeting is investigative in nature and not disciplinary. Adjust your tone to one of concern rather than threatening. The employee is a member of your team and the emphasis should be on resolving a problem rather than issuing a reprimand.
  • Ensure the meeting is private. Public areas such as the employee’s cubical are inappropriate and are not conducive to a productive outcome.
  • Have your facts ready before the meeting. Know the dates of all absences, reasons given for the absences, etc. Not being prepared can have the opposite intended result of the meeting. The employee may not take your concern seriously if you have not done the appropriate legwork.
  • Ask the employee for more details about the absences. There may be a genuine problem contributing to the ongoing attendance problem such as a sick family member or lack of adequate childcare. If the problem is ongoing, try to offer solutions such as a flexible schedule or shifting workdays to allow the employee to take care of their personal life as well as their professional life.
  • Explain to the employee that their absences are affecting operations. Many employees do not believe their role is significant enough to hinder productivity if they miss a day every now and then. Providing concrete data that shows how their unplanned time off affects sales can highlight the cost of their absences.

Next Steps
After meeting with the employee, continue to monitor their attendance. Employers need to address any continued absences or improvements. If you observe a noticeable improvement in the employee’s attendance, be sure to let them know you appreciate their efforts.
Some absences are unavoidable. However, employers need to address attendance issues before they become habitual. Taking the right approach to managing absences can yield much better results than going on the offensive. To learn more about absence management, contact the experts at Actec.