<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Can I Get Employees To Work A Full Eight-Hour Day

November 7, 2001

Dear Workforce:

I manage a small raingear business and have trouble getting employees show upand work a full eight hours. Since we're a small company, when someone is outour production suffers. Any suggestions?

-- Stressed out GM, manufacturing, Attleboro, Massachusetts.

A Dear Stressed Out:

Whenever you deal with employees not performing the basic duties of the job,you might want to consider the following:

Do you have a current policy about attendance and tardiness? Is itwritten?
Writing the policy is very important to avoid potential misinterpretationsand to ensure that all employees receive the same information.
Are all employees aware of the policy and the consequences for violatingit?
Make sure all your employees receive a copy of the written policy. You maywant to require a signed acknowledgement form as well. Some attendance policiesinclude specific consequences for non-compliance but that may be too cumbersomefor your small company. At the very least, be sure your policy includessomething about "failure to follow this policy may result in disciplinaryaction up to and including termination." This will put the teeth in yourpolicy that allow you to enforce it.
Are your current managers pushovers for the crew? Do they let things slideor are they able to enforce the policy as it comes up?
This, of course, is an internal training issue. If your supervisors aren'tconsistently and fairly enforcing the policy you've written, they may needcoaching on performance management or documentation practices.

However, if your problem is widespread and many of your employees are beinglax about their schedule, you'll want to take some additional steps:

  1. Develop your infrastructure as above, but also hold a meeting with youremployees.

  2. Clarify your scheduling expectations and explain to them howtardiness affects their co-workers and production.

  3. As much as possible, involveyour employees in coming up with solutions. They may surprise you with some verycreative solutions. You may also find out information that will help youunderstand any underlying reasons for this uncommitted attitude toward doingtheir jobs.

Make sure to follow through with the solutions and with any consequences.This should be a great start. Good luck.

SOURCE: Cheryl Lawler, HumanResources Manager, and Robin Bruins, Senior Human Resources Manager, Personnel Management Systems,Inc., Kirkland,Washington, June 19, 2001.

LEARN MORE: See a "Sample Attendance Policy" for language to usewhen crafting a policy.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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