Summer Slackin’

With the World Cup in full swing and the season of summertime vacations and trips starting up with a fervor, you may experience the occasional wayward employee. Some industries have a rougher time at this than others (e.g., retail or food service), but when it comes to employee attendance, particularly in peak time off season, it is vital to be proactive in preventing issues with excessive absences and tardies before it becomes a problem.

In our last post, we discussed some ways to help keep your employees motivated and engaged, particularly with summertime distractions such as sporting events and upcoming vacations. While this is incredibly important, it is equally essential to communicate expectations, provide flexibility, and keep employees engaged by implementing summertime activities.

When it comes to communication, remind all employees of what is expected of them with regards to attendance. Provide them with a copy of your attendance policy (via email or in person) so there they are fully aware of what your expectations are and what the consequences may be should they violate this policy.

Try to work with your employees when it comes to workloads and providing flexibility to ensure a balance in the job getting done and your employees staying sane (because we all need a break from time to time!). If the position and business needs warrant it, consider allowing telecommuting during slower times or when the days are incredibly warm and uncomfortable.

Rather than fighting the potential chaos that summer can create (think 5 employees wanting the same week off, but you can only approve 2 of those vacation requests), embrace it and try to implement some fun summer activities to keep your employees happy and motivated. Company picnics, mixers, team sporting events, or simply giving out ice cream bars on the hot summer days encourages camaraderie and boosts spirits.

It is natural to want to be outside when the weather is nice versus cooped up in an office, working away in front of a computer screen (for managers and employees alike). Working with your employees to come up with mutually beneficial solutions will help ensure that production needs are met and that the morale of your employees stays high.

The Beaches are Calling, and I Must Go!

Itching to try out some new camping gear her family recently invested in, Janet requested a number of Fridays off throughout the summer months, creating long weekends to go camping at the beach. As she requested the days off in advance, the majority of her requested time off was approved. However, some of her coworkers had already requested and been granted vacation on the same days Janet wanted off, and Janet was denied those days, the company operating on a “first come, first serve” basis for scheduling vacation.

When those weekends rolled around, Janet seemed to always have a cold, or a stomach bug, or some family emergency that prevented her from working her scheduled shifts. One weekend, Janet posted a number of photos to her social media account of her and her family swimming in the ocean and laughing around the campfire when she was supposedly suffering a severe allergy attack. The following week, Janet’s supervisor, who was already highly suspicious of the convenient timing of her illnesses, was made aware of Janet’s posts and promptly delivered a record of discussion, reiterating the company’s attendance and vacation policies, and warning Janet that subsequent abuse of the system would result in a written warning.

With summer kicking into high gear over the next few weeks as the weather continues to warm up, this scenario is one that managers see a lot of. Employees making up fake illnesses and creating all manner of excuses to get out of work to enjoy the sunshine is common over the summer months. While we cannot control the actions and behaviors of our employees, we do have the power to ensure that policies are in place to clearly communicate expectations and consequences.

Make sure that you have a PTO or vacation policy in place that outlines the process for requesting and scheduling time off. Additionally, your Handbook should have a section on absenteeism and tardiness, communicating processes for reporting absences or tardies, how the organization will deal with excessive absences, and what constitutes job abandonment.

Managing the summer months doesn’t have to be stressful for your organization or department. When your employees are aware of what is expected of them, are mindful of what the consequences are for violating policies, and when those policies are consistently applied, you can help ensure that everything runs smoothly during this time of year when everyone is antsy to get outside.

Contact HRCentral today for a review or update of your current Employee Handbook to ensure your polices are compliant and communicated effectively.

Nuts-and-Bolts: Managing the Cold and Flu Season

Fall is slowing creeping in on us. With the cooler weather comes crunchy leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and of course, cold and flu season. Sick leave (or PTO) is a valued benefit for employees. Despite the expectations for quality attendance, employees get sick and need to take time off to accelerate their recovery and avoid the potential spread of illness. However, many organizations suffer from the abuse of sick leave which can translate to a decrease in productivity and potential loss to the bottom line. (more…)