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Setting expectations for employee attendance

Jul 18, 2022

While scheduling sounds simple, it can actually be one of the most challenging parts of management and keeping a business running. Employees keep operations in motion, but everyone has different scheduling needs. What happens when someone is taking vacation the same day someone else is out sick? Management should have a back-up plan for emergency scenarios like this one, however reducing the frequency of these situations can help things run smoothly.

Setting clear expectations

In order for employees to show up when you want them to, you need to make it very clear what is expected of them. A study by Gallup showed that less than half of employees know what's expected of them at work. This leads to miscommunication, and potentially resentment from both sides of the equation.

If they need to punch in and punch out at specific times because of a tight schedule, make that known. If they can switch shifts at will without manager approval, make that known, too. It depends on the work and environment, but employees can't read your mind. Let them know what you are expecting of them and go from there.

There may even be hidden causes that you're not aware of that are causing poor attendance, so having an open line of communication with employees is vital. Are they avoiding work because of a conflict there? Or maybe something going on at home is keeping them there? Talk to them about it and find out how to solve the problem together.

Offering flexibility

Indeed reports that the average state or government U.S. worker gets 11 sick days in their first year and private industry employees get an average of 7 days of sick leave per year. Multiply that by the number of employees you have, and that's a wide stretch of days you might be left without help at work. If you allow people to schedule time off, they will inform you ahead of time. Most of the time people fear repercussions of using sick days when they're not sick, or how to hide the reasons behind their PTO. By doing this, you won't know until the day of whether they're coming to work. If they are actually sick, this is of course acceptable. However, if you let employees know they can schedule sick time or take a gentler approach regarding PTO in this way, they will be able to inform you of time off ahead of time and therefore make it easier to schedule back-up, or someone to take their place.

The same goes for shift times. If you allow someone to adjust their shift to suit their needs, they're more likely to come in rather than call out.

By setting clear expectations, while ensuring there's still a level of flexibility, you can improve attendance at your place of work in a fair way that benefits all parties.

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