A couple of months ago I was asked by a Manager what he could do about an employee who does a great job but has poor attendance.  I could hear the frustration in his voice when he said, ‘I’m not sure I can do anything because he does such a great job when he’s here.’

Several Factors Measure Employee Performance

Employee performance is measured not just on one’s ability to do the job, or the volume and quality of the work being produced, but also on factors such as attitude, reliability, attendance, etc.  If an employee does a great job with regard to production and quality of work but isn’t dependable because you never know when he’s going to say he cannot make it to work, that’s a problem employee with regard to attendance.  Being stellar in one area doesn’t absolve anyone from falling short in another area.

The Impact on Others

Employee performance issues impact others.  When attendance is the issue, does the work pile up or is it distributed among those who are more reliable?  Either way, there is a burden, either shouldered by the rest of the team or a delay in getting the work done.  This is demotivating and can foster poor attitudes and similar work habits among others.

Legitimate Issues

There are laws in place to protect those who have legitimate health issues, etc., and in those cases, all you can do is abide by the law and be as supportive as you can be as a Manager. Ask the rest of the team to do the same.  Most will understand and are willing to step up, as needed.  It’s when they feel someone is taking advantage of the team and being irresponsible, that it becomes an issue.

Address the Problem

Address this as you should any problem, by first having a discussion with your employee, and if necessary, starting the process to take further corrective action.  If an employee is told their attendance issue will negatively impact their reviews and raises, their ability to move up, and perhaps their future with the company, they’re more likely to change their bad habits.

Ignoring the problem simply suggests to your problem employee, and everyone else, your implicit approval of whatever is going on.

Regardless of how difficult a conversation may be, it’s always better to force yourself to have it rather than put at risk the trust and respect you’ve established with the other members of your team.



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