Occasional employee absences or tardiness, although inconvenient, are part of the human condition. However, an employee who habitually arrives late, calls out or simply doesn’t show up is being unfair to everyone who has to take up the slack. Not to mention impacting production schedules, customer deliveries and productivity.
Too often, managers put up with this behavior until they’ve had enough, engage in a heated exchange and then fire the employee. Since finding knowledgeable people is always a challenge, consider these 3 actions you can take to fix the problem and keep a worthwhile employee on board.
Discover the reasons behind this behavior. If the employee had a history of good attendance that has now changed, you need to have a frank, private discussion to find out what is going on. Absences could be health related, due to increased caregiver responsibilities, a relationship change or a symptom of darker issues such as alcohol or chemical dependence. If you can determine the underlying cause, you may be able to help the employee find the help he or she needs to solve the problem. For example, if the employee has suddenly become a single parent, a shift change might make it easier to arrange child care. Depending on the specific circumstances, your company policies may dictate whether you can help and retain the employee or must dismiss them. If the employee refuses to discuss the issue and the behavior continues you have no alternative but to document the incidents and warnings, and let them go.
Set expectations and hold everyone accountable. You should have a written policy regarding attendance, and each new hire should understand the consequences of not adhering to the rules. Equally important, everyone – from the owners/managers on – must live by the same standards. If you allow anyone in the organization a free pass, you can’t expect others to respect the policy.
Provide a hospitable workplace. Your employees spend a huge chunk of their lives at work. A less than desirable environment can be the root cause of poor attendance. Take a good look around your facility with an eye toward these issues:
Health and safety: Is the air fit to breathe, or is it filled with oil/coolant mist and smoke? Is waste oil in the coolant sump breeding bacteria that causes skin rashes or respiratory problems? Does your parts washer contain and recycle harmful solvent–based cleaners? Have you automated repetitive or unwieldy workpiece loading or unloading? Are CNC machine safety systems operative or have they been altered?
Workplace culture: Is your shop a positive place where people work together and take pride their accomplishments? Or is gossip, backbiting and hostilities keeping employees on edge? Are there troublemakers in the ranks who need to be replaced? Are there poor relationships between workers and managers? If you hire the right people, treat them well and provide a positive environment they will look forward to coming to work instead of avoiding it.
Inclusion: Employees need to know that what they do matters. Take time to periodically inform each employee of the role they play in the organization, how the company is doing, what your plans are for the future and how much you appreciate their contributions.
For more than 95 years Gosiger has helped manufacturers apply machine tools and other technologies to improve productivity. Gosiger can also help provide a safe and healthy workplace through automation systems, air quality products, waste oil removal systems and more. Contact your local Gosiger facility for all the details.