No Excuses! How To Increase Employee Attendance With Online Tools?

To start managing employee attendance, a company will need to set up a structure for measuring it. Things like timeclocks, biometric systems or other time-tracking devices are essential to keep track of the times that staff clock in and out of work as well as monitoring the tasks they undertake.
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: December 8, 2022
  • 8 Minutes
increase employee attendance at workplaces with online time tracking and rota planning tools with Papershift

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It is crucial for any business to know exactly when employees begin their workday, take a break from work, and end their shifts. It is also important for them to know when staff are absent and for what reason. In other words, it’s not too dramatic to say that attendance management is vital for any organisation to be successful.

But what is attendance management and how can you improve the attendance of your staff if you run a small or medium-sized business?

To find out, read on.

What is employee attendance?

Employee attendance is the presence of employees at their designated worksite during the required hours. For example, in retail, employee attendance means an employee showing up for and fully working their scheduled shift for the day. 

Check our featured guide on ‘Holiday demand & Rota staffing in retail businesses‘.

What is employee attendance management?

Attendance Management is the process of tracking employee attendance to minimize the loss in productivity, while also monitoring employee absenteeism. Employers can keep track of employee report timings, especially in cases of non-exempt employees, who are required to be present at all times to serve customers.

Is your absence rate healthy? Check here.
Check our free ‘Brandford absence score calculator‘ to understand the absence rates of employees.

Why is employee attendance management important?

Tracking employee attendance is important for a few reasons:

To prevent time theft

Proper employee attendance management ensures that employees aren’t engaging in something called time theft. This is where a company pays employees for hours they didn’t actually work. Time theft is more common among hourly employees, since they often find it easier to fudge attendance timings.

Employees who use the internet for personal matters during work hours are technically stealing time too. However, if employees set their own hours or a business pays them a flat salary regardless of how much time they work, time theft may be a nonissue so long as productivity is consistent.

Monitor and pay for overtime

Employers must track the hours their staff work, and, if this work is outside their normal hours, they must pay overtime pay. If employee attendance isn’t monitored correctly, overtime payments may be incorrect which can lead to unhappy staff and, potentially, claims for breach of contract. 

Working Hours & Overtime Calculator
Free ‘working hours calculator‘ to compile overtime hours and process payroll.

Monitor absenteeism

Tracking employee attendance can reveal patterns of behaviour, such as certain employees not showing up for their shifts. This repeated missing of shifts is known as absenteeism, and it can have a substantial impact on a business’s finances. A repeatedly absent employee can stretch the workforce thin, reducing the quality of services and lead to poor productivity.

Got questions on staff absence management? Register for a free consultation here.

Increase customer experience

Hourly paid positions are common for customer-facing roles such as retail associates, restaurant servers and call centre agents. In each case, proper employee attendance management will give team member adequate time to interact with customers. As a result, customers won’t feel rushed or neglected and are thus more likely to use a business’s services again in the future.

To improve the production process

In manufacturing plants, assembly-line employees may be hourly workers, and their presence may be crucial for effective processes. For example, if the employee on a cake assembly line isn’t around to smooth out the icing, the company will be left with unfinished and unsellable products. This absence could lead to a backlog that disrupts the whole supply chain.

To comply with Working Time Regulations

In the UK, you need to track employee hours to prove compliance with working hours regulations, break times and many more (as set out in the Work Time Directive).

Being able to prove you are compliant with Working Time Regulations is vital to avoid legal issues and potential fines.

To prevent financial loss

Did You Know?
According to a 2017 study, over 15% of employees have admitted to clocking in their co-workers or being clocked in by their co-workers. This form of time-theft, better known as buddy clocking, can cost businesses hundreds or even thousands of pounds each year.

On top of deliberate time theft, accidental and human error can cost just as much. Payroll errors and a mismatch between hours recorded and hours actually paid can see employees being over (or even) underpaid. All of these things can see a company lose many thousands of pounds each year.

Consider time-tracking automation with Payroll integration? Signup free here.

What types of employee attendance management systems are available?

There are many types of attendance management system available. These include:

Manual systems

A manual system is where employees mark their attendance themselves (often on paper or with a punch card), and data is manually retrieved for analysis.

Mechanised system

A mechanised absence management system is one in which employees’ clock in and out with some sort of identification. Often this is a swipe card or PC login but in the modern workplace it can sometimes be something exotic like fingerprint recognition, iris scan, thumbprint punching voice detection.

The system records attendance data automatically based on entry and exit times with data automatically available for analysis. 

Automated attendance software

Automated attendance systems work in a similar way to mechanised systems and automatically track attendance based on employee log in and log out times. 

Again, data from this type of system is automatically collated and can be analysed using a variety of tools. 

What problems can happen if I don’t manage attendance effectively?

There are a few issues that can arise without good attendance management. These include:

Poor customer service

Late arrivals and early departures of staff can lead to poor customer service. For example, if an employee arrives even a few minutes late, there might not be someone present to help customers. These customers might go elsewhere, sending potential revenue to a competitor.

Poor staff cover

Many workers hate Mondays and want to go home early on Fridays. Without a good attendance management system, staff may ‘disappear’ or fail to attend on certain days and the business may be unable to provide adequate cover to be productive. 

Excessive breaks periods

No one should have to work a full eight-hour shift in one go, but an employee whose breaks are too long or frequent can disrupt a business’s operations. 

A business should also make sure another employee is available whenever a staff member is on a break.

Unexpected absences

At the end of the day, employees are people with lives and needs outside of work. They might fall ill, have family emergencies, or need time off for appointments. With poor attendance management, a business will struggle to fill the gaps that employees’ absences leave and may be forced to make staff work when they really need time off.

Excessive sickness

The short-term absence of an employee is certainly better than the whole workforce catching an illness. But some employee’s may take advantage if their sick leave isn’t managed effectively.

How can I manage employee attendance effectively?

Proper employee attendance management procedures will help to address the challenges listed above. These might include: 

Measure employee attendance

To start managing employee attendance, a company will need to set up a structure for measuring it. Things like timeclocks, biometric systems or other time-tracking devices are essential to keep track of the times that staff clock in and out of work as well as monitoring the tasks they undertake.

Create attendance policies

A thorough attendance policy in an employee handbook should tell employees how to request holiday time, take sick leave, as well as requesting other forms of leave. The policy should state how much of each leave type an employees can receive. It should also explain the consequences of excessive absence or abuse of their time management.

Absence Policy Framework
Create a ‘Fair leave policy‘ at your workplace with this guide.

Review why employees are being absent

There are many reasons why employees may be absent from work, and not all of them are that they are skiving. For example:

  1. An employee may find themselves in conflict with another employee and may not want to attend work.
  2. Overworked employees may feel too stressed to attend.
  3. Employee’s may have life circumstances that require them to stay away from work (for example, they may be a carer)

It’s important as an employer to ask why an employee is missing work before they take action. This gives them a chance to address the issue sympathetically and appropriately.

Reward staff

Rewards for good attendance may incentivize employees to show up and work harder. Cash bonuses, “employee of the month” programs, and extra paid time off for good attendance are all great incentives. 

Adequately train managers

If a company has several managers who each manage their own employees, they need to be trained on how to spot and handle attendance issues. A system of encouraging these supervisors to track and document absences needs to be in place and they should be trained on how to approach employees who repeatedly are absent.

Using time and attendance software

Time and attendance software makes all the employee attendance management tasks far easier. A good attendance management software system will track employee clock in and clock out times, break periods, absences, as well as many other areas of attendance. 

In conclusion

Having a robust and thorough attendance management policy is vital for a business to be successful. 

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Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)