Employee attendance is a big deal. On average, employee absenteeism costs the US $36.4 billion every year, not to mention lower productivity levels and poor team morale.
It’s important to understand that absenteeism doesn’t only manifest itself in excessive absences. Hourly employees are often late for their shifts or after break for just under 10 minutes, and there’s a misconception that this kind of absenteeism is just “part of doing business.”
In reality, even small attendance issues can result in a massive loss of productivity and hurt your bottom line.
In this article, we’re going to unpack the hidden costs of employee lateness and explain how to deal with hourly employee absenteeism to boost team productivity.
→ For more information on creating an effective time and attendance system, watch Secchi’s webinar “From Late to Great: Addressing the Hidden Costs of Attendance Issue.”
In the fast-paced work environment of the frontline, employees showing up to work under 10 minutes late is rarely addressed. Most frontline supervisors don’t have convenient absence management tools to effectively document employee tardiness and it’s easier to say “just don’t let it happen again” and sweep it under the rug.
However, these micro-absences result in compounding inefficiency. They may seem small, but they trigger both direct and indirect costs that can seriously hurt your team performance and lead to a significant loss of profit. In fact, a white paper by workforce solution company Circadian estimates that absenteeism costs approximately $3,600 per year for each hourly worker.
The most obvious direct cost of micro-absenteeism is that you’re paying someone for when they aren’t actually working.
Ten minutes may seem small, but it’s important to remember that one team member not working when they’re supposed to typically hinders the performance of other team members as well. Co-workers who are present may not be able to effectively carry out their responsibilities, and supervisors may have to wait to start meetings or repeat information.
Compounded together, one team member being ten minutes late can result in a massive waste of time and resources.
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Chronic lateness creates a ripple effect across your frontline team that decreases productivity and morale.
→ Chronic micro-absenteeism lowers engagement. When team members are constantly arriving late without consequences, it disrupts the work environment and shows other employees that they can be late, too.
→ Tardiness increases tension. Workers who arrive on time may need to take on an increased workload to make up for those who are absent, which results in co-worker resentment, stress, and decreased job satisfaction.
→ Your employees may lose respect for their supervisor. If your workers see that good attendance is not enforced by the supervisor, they’re going to have a hard time seeing them as a competent leader.
→ Your organization’s reputation may be tarnished. If your employees are not arriving on time, it may mean that they’re not attending to clients’ or patients’ needs properly, which lowers customer satisfaction.
Eventually, micro-absenteeism starts to add up. Without effective attendance management, you’re bound to keep having the same issues over and over again. Luckily, there are steps you can take to drastically reduce absenteeism and increase team productivity.
Crystal clear expectations with appropriate incentives and consequences are key to motivating your employees to show up to work on time. Don’t just assume that your workers understand your attendance policies. It’s important to clearly communicate what you expect of your team and the consequences of what will happen if they don’t live up to the expectations.
To improve team productivity and attendance, make showing up for work on time a no-brainer. Have a functional recognition program in place to reward those who arrive on time and appropriate disciplinary action for those who don’t. Your employees should clearly understand the benefits of being on time and the consequences of being late, so prioritize communication and transparency.
Most importantly, remember that it’s not enough to set expectations. You also need to enforce them.
Don’t wing it. Before you approach an employee about his chronic absenteeism, you need to have rock solid documentation in place that backs up your claims. Documentation not only makes it easier to have a productive conversation without emotion or confrontation, but also protects your organization from litigation.
It should be easy for the supervisor to document employee behavior. One of the reasons why micro-absenteeism falls through the cracks is because it’s difficult to track when you’re using a simple timekeeping system or a manual Excel spreadsheet. Trying to document without having the right attendance management software in place will only result in more wasted time and increased mistakes.
→ Secchi is an hourly performance management software that streamlines documentation with robust employee attendance tracking features.
Using an attendance tracking software not only helps you effectively enforce your expectations, but also allows you to see behavior patterns and uncover potential bigger issues at play. It’s a way to see if there’s a recurring problem that’s preventing your employees from showing up on time and address it to build a stronger team.
For example, if chronic absenteeism is an issue for your entire team, you may want to have an open conversation with your employees and try to figure out if there’s a common factor at play. Similarly, if you see that an employee always calls in sick on a certain day, it may be a sign that a personal issue is hindering their performance.
You may already have a timekeeping system in place and wonder if there’s a way that you can use that existing tool to deal with employee absenteeism. The truth is that timekeeping systems are meant to serve a different purpose. They exist for payroll and are not an effective way to manage employee attendance.
Frontline leaders have a lot to juggle. On any given day, they may have to manage:
→ Three requests to leave early
→ Five people showing up late
→ One request to stay up late and make up for lost time
→ One employee missing from their shift
Your attendance management software needs to have the capacity to streamline the nuances of the frontline work environment. Plus, it has to be easy to use so your supervisors and managers don’t waste their valuable time on manually inputting data and having to go through 10+ steps to complete a simple task. Secchi simplifies performance management so you can hold your team accountable, improve documentation, and eliminate waste.
Learn more about the hidden costs of attendance and how to effectively increase productivity in Secchi’s “From Late to Great: Addressing the Hidden Costs of Attendance Issue” webinar. Watch now!
With Secchi, leaders across your entire organization have access to turn-by-turn leadership directions and actionable data that guides them on how to engage their teams through recognition, coaching, engagement, and accountability.
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