Addressing Attitude & Attendance Issues


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  • This Topic is close to heart of all HR Managers and line professionals since you have to deal with it every day. Two most common problems cited by these folks are Absenteeism & Bad Attitudes. ********************************************************* Cartoon….. “ You called in Sick” yesterday, but, I saw in the paper that you scored three goals in the soccer tournament that day. Yea, just think of how many I could have scored if I wasn’t sick!
  • The topic is not about FMLA or ADA … that would take an hour or more to cover each of those topics. Recent HR Magazine survey on unscheduled absences 35% from illness 29% Family 18% personal need 12 % Stress 11% from entitlement mentality Highest level of unscheduled absences since 1999 Problem is not ADA and FMLA it’s the people who don’t show-up for work when they are expected to be there.
  • No big deal….works against solving the problem of unscheduled absenteeism…there is a great deal of things that can be done to lower unscheduled absenteeism. Biggest mistake is to ask the single dumbest thing the supervisor can ask is why were you absent? If the supervisor says, “That’s not a good excuse”…the next time the person will come up with a better excuse. Abolish the term excessive absenteeism because if you use the term you are implying there is an acceptable level of absenteeism. The proper phrase is: “failure to maintain regular attendance…showing up every day”. Sick leave is implying to the employee that there is an entitlement to use all the sick leave that is allocated….rather talk about “Income Protection” policy. Doctors Certificates (in ½ of 1% of cases) are justified when you want to ensure the employee is OK to return or doesn’t have a contagious disease. This is to certify that “Bill” was under my care during ….and was unable to work. This certificate may be used in the event of arbitration or disciplinary action in the event the employee is discharged for cause)
  • Make sure that people know importance of coming to work. Focus on “Perfect Attendance” Regular attendance is mandatory due to the critical nature of attending to… We expect every employee to be on time and present at work on every day they are scheduled to work. Every employee is expected to maintain good health.. Abolish term sick leave…reword to income protection in the event you cannot come to work due to illness or accident. Reward perfect attendance Compute your average absence rate and talk to an individual about their absent rate in comparison to the average….e.g., average rate is 3% your rate is 4.5% … you need to get to a rate which is better than average.
  • The cause of absence isn’t the issue… the effect was on increased workload on others, missed scheduled delivery, overtime for others to make-up for the absence… Focus on what difference it made to the organization and co-workers when employee wasn’t there.
  • This is a script…a cookbook…or actual words to say, at least until you get comfortable doing this on a regular basis. This is not theory, this is an actual script that works and we recommend using it. Never let an absence or tardiness go by unnoticed…always ask if there is anything you can do to help … if it goes on two or even three times, you need to act and point out that the person’s attendance does not meet the standards of regular attendance.
  • What is an attitude? Some internal mental state that leads toward behavior…some internal mechanism that manifests itself into an observed behavior. Attitude becomes a catch-all phrase to label something a supervisor doesn’t like. Rather than use the term attitude, use the specific behavior that is being observed.
  • Specify what it is and continue to Narrow the issue to the specific problem
  • Crossing arms, scowling, occurred in a meeting on 2/2/0x. Talk about the behaviors that you can see, hear, document and observe.
  • So what…..What difference does it make? Write down the answer ….Identify impact on customers, other employees, supervisor, company values… You are preparing to Discuss the situation Describe the behavior Explain the impact of behavior When someone says its no big deal you can say… It is a big deal and let me tell you why….
  • If we have the honesty to admit that attendance is a serious issue, the courage to take steps to improve it, then the perseverance to stand against those who would undermine our efforts to improve it, and if we would be generous by praising and rewarding those workers who came to work everyday, and who have perfect attendance, our organization’s future will be much brighter.
  • Addressing Attitude & Attendance Issues

    1. 1. Absenteeism and Bad Attitudes How Line Managers Can Solve Their Most Common People Problems
    2. 2. Our Focus for Today <ul><li>FMLA </li></ul><ul><li>ADA </li></ul><ul><li>Practical Ideas that HR professionals and line supervisors can actually use </li></ul>
    3. 3. Bad ideas <ul><li>Ignoring the issue – “It’s no big deal…” </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking nothing can be done </li></ul><ul><li>Focusing on cause </li></ul><ul><li>Saying, “Excessive absenteeism.” </li></ul><ul><li>Saying “Sick leave.” </li></ul><ul><li>Asking for doctor’s certificates. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Good ideas <ul><li>Making attendance a priority </li></ul><ul><li>Focusing on perfect attendance </li></ul><ul><li>Talking about “Our income protection policy” </li></ul><ul><li>Discriminating on the basis of good attendance </li></ul><ul><li>Calculating your average absence rate </li></ul>
    5. 5. Good conversations <ul><li>Talk effect, not cause. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk desired vs. actual performance: “Here’s what I need; here’s what I get.” </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the impact of the absence. </li></ul><ul><li>Gain the individual’s agreement. </li></ul>
    6. 6. How to Gain Agreement <ul><li>“ [Name] , may I have your agreement to ______________?” e.g., “come to work every day” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>After the employee has agreed, solidify it by saying: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>“ I don’t think we’ll ever need to talk about this again, will we?” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>After the employee has agreed, say: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Do we have a deal?” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>There is something magic in shaking hands so, Shake hands and get back to work. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Bad attitudes <ul><li>What is an “attitude”? </li></ul><ul><li>One more time – does it make any difference? </li></ul><ul><li>Are we allowed to be concerned? </li></ul>
    8. 8. Attitude – Examples <ul><li>Annoying / offensive behaviors Insubordinate </li></ul><ul><li>Careless / frivolous Lazy /Goofing off </li></ul><ul><li>Complaining / Whining / Crabby Malicious obedience </li></ul><ul><li>Defensiveness / Excuses Negative / Cynical </li></ul><ul><li>Disruptive/ Explosive Pouting / Sulking </li></ul><ul><li>Egotistical / Credit-grabbing Rude / Surly </li></ul><ul><li>Inattentive to Work Quarrelsome </li></ul><ul><li>Insensitive to others Socializing </li></ul>
    9. 9. Diagnosing the Attitude Problem <ul><li>Narrow the issue to the specific problem or concern </li></ul><ul><li>Write down the specific verbal and physical behaviors and actions that concern you. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep track of exactly how often the behaviors occur. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the Impact: the good business reasons why these behaviors must stop. </li></ul>
    10. 10. The BIG Question <ul><li>So what? </li></ul>
    11. 11. Changing the Attitude <ul><li>Discuss the situation with the individual, describe the behavior, and explain that this behavior is causing a problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Opening script: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ [Name] , I have a problem.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Describe the specific desired and actual performance. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Tell me about it . . . ” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. How to Deal with Defensiveness <ul><li>Allow it. It’s normal. </li></ul><ul><li>Restate the individual’s position. </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge their feelings. </li></ul><ul><li>Pause to allow your acceptance to sink in. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for more information on their point of view. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Listen for Reasons, not Excuses <ul><li>Determine whether the individual has a logical reason for the behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask the magic question: “What are your objectives?” </li></ul>
    14. 14. Stop and Start <ul><li>Tell the individual to stop engaging in the problem behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell the individual what behavior is required: courteous, cooperative, and helpful. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Documentation <ul><li>Desired vs. Actual performance. </li></ul><ul><li>Impact (the good business reasons). </li></ul><ul><li>Consequences (the logical outcomes if the problem continues). </li></ul><ul><li>The individual’s agreement. </li></ul>
    16. 16. When conversation fails . . . <ul><li>Use your performance appraisal form. </li></ul><ul><li>Use a Decision Making Leave. </li></ul>
    17. 17. The Critical Requirement <ul><li>Courage </li></ul>