What is attendance management? This is a concept that has largely evolved over the last few years to mean something very different than it originally did. When the term was first coined, it simply referred to keeping track of your employees’ attendance - when they are scheduled, when they show up, when they don’t, and when they’re late or leave early.
However, today’s definition has morphed into something else altogether - something much more complex and sometimes less effective. While the point systems and reward bazaars of modern workplaces may work for some teams, they don’t work for everyone. The overly-complex is not always the best approach to managing your employee’s attendance - or to encouraging them to actually show up.
Here, we offer information on creating a solid attendance management strategy that goes back to basics and delivers results that modern contact centers can use.
Too Much to Keep Track Of
Today’s attendance management strategies are often too complicated for their own good.
Consider this: Many modern centers use points-based systems that allow employees to earn points that can be used for forgiveness of absences, tardiness, or to buy excuses for missing work ahead of time. These token systems may sound fun for school-aged children, but for many adult workers, they are both demeaning and frustrating, since keeping up with the way they work is confusing and difficult.
Some centers are far too strict in their attendance policies, allowing absences for no reason other than a hospital stay. Other centers use methods that border on coddling, being too lax - and paying the price in poor attendance and performance. There has to be a better balance and a better way of doing things!
Back to Basics
Why does it pay to return to simple strategies when it comes to attendance management? Because what is proven to work is exactly that - and can be modified to suit your needs as they grow and change.
The most basic tenements of any attendance policy should be clearly-stated expectations - employees should know when they are due to be at work and when they are permitted to leave - and the separation of work and personal life. When you give your team the information they need to arrive on time and participate properly in workplace activities, everything else becomes their choice. You’ve done your part and can enforce your policy accordingly. Moreover, you have given the adult employees on your team the freedom and autonomy they need to improve their own work ethic - something that will be reflected in their performance for years to come.
Doing Attendance Management Right
What is the right way to approach attendance management? While the answer will vary from facility to facility, there are some basic principals which are almost infallible.
First, don’t overwork your employees. It is easy to become focused on productivity and efficiency rather than caring for our employees on a physical, mental, and emotional level. However, this kind of care is a necessity when it comes to sustaining any kind of management plan - attendance or otherwise. Take a hard look at your scheduling practice and determine if you are asking too much of your employees. If the answer is yes - or even maybe - consider rethinking your scheduling or shifting your staffing to better suit the needs of your company while avoiding overworking your team.
Second, work on improving employee morale. A tired, frustrated, burnt-out employee isn’t likely to be a productive team member - or even likely to show up on time when they are supposed to. While you cannot change what a person is going through in their life outside of work, you can make the workplace a better place to be. Strive for an environment that is positive and uplifting, without too many distractions from the tasks at hand. Striking this balance will give people a reason to want to come to work - and less reason to miss.
Third, be consistent. If your employees know what to expect from you, they are more likely to adhere to policy - and do so gladly. Whatever your attendance management policies are, don’t let them slide for certain employees and enforce them with others. This also means setting aside merit-based systems in which older or more experienced employees or top performers are allowed more leniency with attendance. Look at every empty chair as equal and enforce your policy accordingly for best results.
Lastly, judge less, but judge better. What does this mean? Don’t spend time scrutinizing the excuses employees give for unplanned absences. Too many center waste time tracking down doctor’s notes and insisting on proof that an absence was necessary or the related situation was emergent. However, there are times when this won’t be the case, but your employee still needed the time off. It isn’t the place of your management team to judge individual reasons for absence. Instead, put their good judgment to work in examining patterns of absence and abuse of the system. This is much more important and will yield more meaningful results.
Having the Right Technology is Crucial
Technology can play a huge roll in good attendance management. When you need to keep track of who is on the clock, who has put in the amount of time they’re supposed to, and what you owe them as compensation for that time, having a great software system to back you up is key. What may have once taken an entire department can now largely be handled by a single person and a program - making labor costs lower and life easier for your managerial team.
When you’re ready to outfit your center with new tools and technology, consult the experts at ChaseData. We have everything you need to create a manageable attendance management strategy - and to help your managers motivate employees to perform up to par. For more information, give us a call today!