Monthly Archives: March 2014


How to Deal with Attendance Issues BEFORE they Become a Real Issue!

We all love this time of the year!  The weather is “just right”. The nights are getting longer and warmer.  Friends are getting together more for happy hours.  Golf tournaments are happening all around the valley.

The downside for business owners – Attendance issues increase as the weather gets warmer.

This time of year, more employees are taking sick days when they are not sick, such as wanting to stretch the weekend into 3 days to extend a vacation or recoup from a “rough” night out.  Matters get worse when they are sick and they do come to work because they have run out of sick days or know that they have been “out sick” too much.  It is usually just a couple of employees who are consistently the culprits.

These attendance issues can create multiple problems:

  • It affects the morale of the employees who make a point to come to work every day and are on time.
  • Work may not be getting completed on time.
  • Other employees are getting stuck with an additional work load.
  • Employees who come to work sick are not getting the rest they need to get better AND they are exposing co-workers to their illness.

Here are some ideas that you as a business owner can do to help control and possibly reduce attendance issues:

Make sure that your employees understand your view towards attendance.

  • Share your passion towards having low absentee and tardiness department.
  • Have an attendance policy that clearly lays out the guidelines and expectations.
  • Lead by example.

Have your employee’s call you directly instead of their immediate supervisor.

  • They might think twice about calling out knowing that you, the owner, will answer the call or hear the voicemail.

Ensure that you are accurately tracking time off – use a software system if you have access to one.

  • This helps track trends before it becomes a bigger issue.
  • Ensures you are not singling any particular employee out.

Watch for Trends.

  • Out sick on Mondays and Fridays = taking advantage of sick days for pleasure.
  • Consistently 5 – 10 minutes late = lack of effort to get to work on time.

Create an award program to recognize those who don’t call out or are tardy over a specified amount of time.

  • This shows that although you are a stickler when it comes to attendance, you also want to show your appreciation to the employees who make it a point to respect your attendance views.

When you determine a problem, schedule a meeting.

  • Do not let the problem persist.
  • If it is isolated to one or two employees who are repeat offenders, meet with them one on one.
  • If it is a multiple people, hold a “team” meeting and show the statistics.  Set goals to correct the problem and hold all team members accountable.  Peer pressure can work in your favor.

Allow your employees the time off, when needed, to deal with personal business.

  • Understand that employees will need time to take care of personal things on occasion.
  • If they feel that you respect that, they are less apt to take advantage on other occasions.

Deal with the issue before it becomes a real problem.

Remember, one bad apple can spoil the bunch!! 

Warmer Weather Challenges in addressing Dress Codes

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I am the last to point any fingers!  I, too, get excited to reach deep in my closet and pull out the cute summer dresses, the tank tops and my colorful collection of flip flops when the weather is warming up. However, with every company I have worked at or with as a client, not a year goes by that I don’t have to remind employees what is and isn’t appropriate to wear to the office. In fact, I just spoke with a business owner this week about this very concern.

Years ago, one of my employees wore a summer top to the office that appeared respectable when standing. However, even the slightest lean forward would provide the entire office a display of her thong underwear that were riding higher than the jeans she was wearing.  To make a point of it, and trying to be funny, one of the male employees reached over while she was bending to get some files out of a lower level drawer and snapped her thong.

She had it coming, didn’t she?

Well, she reported the incident.  It resulted in an internal investigation, a written warning for the male employee and a refresher training on Sexual Harassment for the entire office.

What can you do to avoid those uncomfortable and time consuming situations at the workplace? Get proactive on having a dress code in place, especially for the summer season.

Here are some tips to consider when creating a dress code policy:

Determine Your ‘No-Go Zones’.

  • For ladies, this is typically making sure that bra straps, belly buttons, cleavage and lower back tattoos are not exposed. No shorts or beach flip-flops.
  • For men, this is typically no bare shoulders, no shorts, no flip-flops, no ripped denim, and button down shirts with too many button undone.

 Consider Clarifying Different Expectations by Department or Customer Contact.

  • Salespersons or front desk receptionists might be required to ALWAYS keep their shoulders covered, since they are your first line of contact with your customers.
  • Female desk employees might be entitled to wear sleeveless blouses as their interactions are limited to other co-workers.
  • Warehouse staff might be able to wear shorts, but office employees cannot.

 Write it Down and Make it Definitive.

  • If you are going to make a policy that binds employees to a certain behavior, you should be very precise in your language to avoid any misinterpretation, e.g. all tattoos and piercings must be covered at all times.
  • Even if you make an exception, say, for woman’s earrings, it’s best to be specific about how many earrings are appropriate.

 Send out a “friendly reminder” of the dress code policy each year just PRIOR to the warm weather.

  • Nine times out of ten, employees understand the purpose of a dress code and a friendly reminder is enough to remedy any usual violations.
  • However, managers should be on guard if staff members react with any “red flag” objections that could be an early sign of trouble.

 

Keep in mind, the appearance of your staff should support your culture and create a credible image in the mind of your customer.

If you decide to tackle the development your own policy. I strongly recommend having it reviewed by an HR expert or an attorney. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits any employer discrimination based on gender, race, or religion, these are obviously highly sensitive areas, so it’s best to ensure your policy has been reviewed appropriately to help avoid any legal issues down the road.