Managing Tardiness and Absenteeism | Netchex
Time & Attendance
Jun 15, 2022

How to Effectively Manage Tardiness and Absenteeism

How to Effectively Manage Tardiness and Absenteeism


Absenteeism and tardiness are recurring problems in most workplaces—even in a remote work world. Don’t settle for the bare minimum when it comes to tardiness and absenteeism. Use time and attendance software to create enforceable policies, improve performance, and reduce cost. 

READ MORE: 12 Essential Time and Attendance Software Features

While some employees fail to start work on time, others miss full days. Sometimes, employee absences are unavoidable, like for a family emergency. Other employees might oversleep or simply break the rules because tardiness policies are rarely enforced. 

Discover the causes and hidden cost of absenteeism and tardiness. Plus, learn how HR software that tracks time and attendance can help solve this problem for your company. 

Causes of absenteeism and tardiness

Some absences are beyond an employee’s control. They might have a vehicle breakdown or an illness in the family. Traffic accidents, road construction, and weather can be legitimate reasons for tardiness.

Other employees simply choose to skip work because they don’t value the job or expect minimal consequences. Clearly, each workplace needs a set of HR policies to respond fairly to both legitimate and illegitimate causes for tardiness and absence.

Absenteeism and tardiness culprits

Employees with children and dependents may have important obligations that take priority over daily attendance. Your parental leave and FMLA policies should provide some accommodations for parents.

New hires who see their position as temporary may be more likely to “no-call, no-show” or skip work without notice. At the other end of the spectrum, long-tenured employees who see themselves as irreplaceable may not worry about the official rules and policies. 

Hidden costs of absenteeism and tardiness

At the most basic level late and absent employees affect the morale and efficiency of the whole company. On a larger scale, the missed hours have a measurable financial impact. 

  • Absenteeism costs employers up to $3,600 per year for each hourly worker.
  • From 15-20% of American workers show up late on a regular basis, delaying productivity. In a state like California, tardiness is estimated to have cost the state over 1 billion dollars a year

Just think about how much can your company save by investing in accurate and effective time and attendance software.

Why you can’t just ignore absenteeism and tardiness

When it only happens once or twice, it’s tempting to ignore absenteeism. Unfortunately, you need to develop a consistent policy to prevent these negative side effects from piling up:

Resentment from other employees

Most of your employees show up as scheduled, and they feel frustrated if others aren’t held to the same standard. More reliable employees won’t just resent the absent employees, they will blame management for inconsistent policies.

Lower productivity and morale

Employees will find it harder to meet goals when the team is inconsistent and understaffed. Others will have to pick up the slack for their missing colleagues, and some tasks may be harder to complete in their absence. Working harder to keep up with routine workloads can drain everyone’s morale.

Increased expenses

Without a full team, deadlines are missed and costs increase. Even when your employees adapt efficiently, those adjustments take time away from other tasks. Managers and supervisors also have to spend time covering gaps and responding appropriately.

Disciplinary action

Sooner or later, you’ll need to take disciplinary action. If a repeat offender is fired, then your company has the cost of recruiting and training a new employee. Unpaid leave causes many of the same workflow problems as the original offense.

Tips for Reducing Absenteeism and Tardiness

Complete prevention may not be realistic, but there are steps you can take to address and reduce tardiness and absenteeism with HR policies and HR technology. 

READ MORE: The Benefits of Time and Attendance Software

Review current time off policies

Make sure your company policy provides protected forms of leave and accommodations. Your employee handbook should help employees take advantage of FMLA and any PTO.

Consider creating a hybrid work environment where employees can work remotely when necessary. Some employees will be able to work from home during circumstances that prevent them from showing up at the office.

Ensure accurate timekeeping and scheduling

Leverage HR technology like a single time and attendance solution to easily track tardiness and notify managers. When employees know their tardiness will pass unnoticed, it’s hard to get them to show up on time. 

Advanced scheduling functionality makes it easier to identify scheduling conflicts, make necessary adjustments, and keep employees engaged and happy with their schedules.

DISCOVER: A Guide to Essential Features for Employee Scheduling Software

Address offenders one-on-one

Remember that many reasons for tardiness and unscheduled absences are legitimate, sometimes even protected by law. Show concern when talking to employees who missed work, and open a conversation that’s not immediately about consequences. Make appropriate accommodations and be consistent in how you implement company policies. 

Develop new policies

Your company needs a simple but balanced approach to handling tardiness and absenteeism. Managers can get into trouble when they have to decide how to respond on a case-by-case basis, creating the appearance of unfairness.

Decide in advance how to handle repeat offenders. How many offenses can be overlooked in a set period, and how many is too many? Set the policy for your company’s response after the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd offense. 

Distribute new policy

Alert employees to any change in policy as important as time and attendance. Update the employee handbook and any other resources with policy information.

Make sure you get employee feedback on policy changes and address concerns that arise. Employees may identify potential conflicts that your policy has overlooked, like childcare schedules. Clarify your policy and any exceptions before enforcing the new expectations.

Reward those who follow policy

Your punctual and dedicated workers deserve positive reinforcement. Think about using early morning treats and other incentives to reward the people who consistently show up on time. 

Verbal recognition also goes a long way in showing appreciation for hard work. Use time and attendance records when you collect data for performance management and employee evaluations. High performers should be rewarded for their consistency and reliability.

Learn more about Netchex’s Time and Attendance solution:

To better manage tardiness and absenteeism, utilize HR software with a built-in Time and Attendance solution. Netchex build technology solutions for the unique needs of Human Resources professionals. Learn more about our Time and Attendance software that is fully integrated with our entire HR technology suite.

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