Absence Management – Your Guide for How to Properly Handle It

by Katie Sawyer, 3 minutes read
HOME blog absence management your guide for how to properly handle it

Everyone needs time off to recharge, enjoy time with family, and manage their responsibilities outside of work. But when you and your team are misaligned about absences, business can suffer.

Some industries have the luxury of working from home and can do their tasks remotely. For a busy restaurant, however, losing one server for a day leads to angry customers, fewer tables, and a staff that’s stretched too thin.

By learning how to properly manage absence, you can boost team morale and protect your bottom line. Read on to discover why absence management is critical to maintaining smooth operations — and how you can better create a productive organization.

Causes of absenteeism

It's Monday morning at your coffee shop and you're wrapping up some paperwork when you get a notification — one of your baristas can't come in. It's inevitable that your staff will occasionally need to miss a shift. Are you prepared?

To be most effective you first need to understand the different causes of absenteeism. Then, you’ll be set up to identify solutions to handle absenteeism effectively.

Here are just a few of the common causes of absenteeism.

  • Care obligations. You staff might need time off work to care for a child or relative who unexpectedly becomes ill or if care providers are suddenly unavailable.

  • Sickness. From colds to the flu to a global pandemic, your staff may come down with various illnesses.

  • Mental health. While previously there was a stigma about talking about mental health, this should now be a top priority. Prioritize your employees’ mental health during times of crisis and they will feel valued and appreciated.

Build your absence management policy

Give your baristas some peace of mind around work flexibility with an absence management policy that handles attendance issues and prioritizes their health and safety. Include it with your employee handbook that is provided to new hires during the onboarding process and provide expectations.

Regular and consistent attendance

Explain the difference between scheduled and unscheduled absences so that your employees are aware of the circumstances that will result in negative consequences. Provide a clear quota of absences that your employees may take, both scheduled and unscheduled, to meet attendance requirements.

Innocent or non-culpable absenteeism is when the employee is not at fault and does not result in disciplinary action. You can help your employee reduce their absenteeism through coaching and support.

Culpable absenteeism means the employee has the responsibility and power to correct their absence pattern.

Absenteeism reporting procedure

Your employees need to know how and when to report their absence. How much notice do they need to give, and how can they find someone to cover their shift?

Ideally, the process will be as smooth as possible. Since email and phone records are hard to track, use a comprehensive online solution that allows your employees to document their reasons for absence and find someone to cover them.

Employee wellness

Provide your employees with a simple process to request time off. Let them know that working while sick will negatively impact the entire team, and that taking care of their mental health will improve their performance in the long run.

Employers need to be protective and mindful of their employees’ health and safety at the frontlines. They’re keeping customers coming back for more, after all.

Ensure a productive and (fully staffed) schedule

With your absence management policy in place, you’re ready to keep your teams running strong. Empower your managers with the responsibility of tracking attendance and paying attention to how people are performing. Provide them with training to coach and mentor employees who struggle with attendance and create a culture where employees are not afraid to take time off if they need to.

For the vast majority of cases, employees want to show up to work and perform at their best.

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