How to Improve Employee Attendance

Employee attendance directly affects staff performance. It may seem out of your control, but there are plenty of ways to work around it. Here are a few tips on how to improve employee attendance.

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Looking for ways on how to improve employee attendance? Be sure to track your employee’s leave, set expectations, boost morale and employee engagement and more.

Track Leave

As a manager, relying on hunches isn’t a brilliant move. Moreover, employees want fair treatment. When tracking employee absences, you can use HR software, attendance management system or come up with a basic spreadsheet. Tracking absences is unlikely to improve attendance but it’s a great starting point when combined with other methods and changes.

Set Expectations

Your workplace culture will determine the extent to which absences are “accepted.” No manager wants their staff to be absent but companies have different expectations around employee attendance. There’s no cookie-cutter approach – what’s important is that employees understand what they’re expected to do when they’re going to be absent.

Expectations are created through management and company culture as well as through documents such as employee handbooks. The trick is to set out expectations for attendance and outline the disciplinary process.

Boost Morale and Employee Engagement

Lower morale can lead to a vicious circle with higher absenteeism levels. You can start boosting workplace morale by making a few small changes such as:

  • Recognizing achievements
  • Trusting your employees
  • Moving towards a more open office culture
  • Listening to employees more.

Reduce Sick Leave

This doesn’t mean you should force employees to come to work while sick. Instead, you can help employees to lessen the impact or prevent some illnesses or health problems from occurring in the first place.

For instance, employers can invest in ergonomic furniture to reduce back pain and associated conditions. Taking such steps will indirectly cut sick leave. Be sure to discuss such plans with staff to find out which options they think will be most effective.


It’s crucial that communication about absence takes place during and after every period of absence. Supervisors need to be empathetic and make efforts to understand the situation. For instance, supervisors should check up on absent employees after a couple of days to see how they’re faring.

If an employee is absent for an extended period, managers should hold a return to work interview for the following reasons:

  • Update them on announcements, new hires and company news.
  • Explain who’s been covering their workload.
  • Check whether the employee is well enough to work.
  • Discuss how their absence was managed and steps that will be taken if similar circumstances occur again.

Train Supervisors

Absence policies and initiatives will only be effective if supervisors are aware of them, support them and adopt them. As such, consider training your supervisors on all matters attendance. Start with the basics and narrow down to the specifics.

Final Thoughts

Before trying to tackle any absence problems, start by trying to understand the root cause. Keeping track of hours and leave will go a long way in helping you to come up with policies and initiatives that will help to reduce employee absence. These tips on how to improve employee attendance can help you to reduce absence rates significantly.

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