Show Up for Success! A step-by-step guide to rewarding employee attendance

Rosie Ramirez

11 April 2019    |   

“I have always been a quarter of an hour before my time, and it has made a man of me.” – Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) Improving employee attendance has always been a puzzle for business owners and managers. In a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, 29% of respondents said they came in late at least once a month. 49% blame the traffic for their tardiness, 32% blame it on oversleeping, while the rest blame bad weather, procrastination, and “too tired to get out of bed.” For many businesses, but especially in shift work industries, tardiness can mean disruption and loss of profit. Deducting pay for tardiness is one solution, and is a common one. But employee incentives for punctuality serve to underscore the importance of time and attendance in a more positive way. If you’re looking into implementing an incentive program, below is a step-by-step guide to rewarding employee attendance. 1. Establish a baseline Using your time and attendance records, establish the baselines of employee attendance. Take note of how many are late, how many are absent, and how many leave work early, and on which days. Flag those with good performance and consistent violations. This will be useful later on in seeking a budget for the program, and evaluating how effective your strategies for rewarding employee attendance are. 2. Be transparent with your plans Don’t surprise your employees with new attendance policies. Remind them about your expectations on attendance and why you expect them to be followed. Quickly run through the protocols observed for unexpected tardiness and absences. Then, inform them about the attendance incentives you have planned out. This will ensure that they feel like they’re part of the team, and motivate them to participate. Lastly, remind them that the rewards don’t mean that sick employees should feel obligated to come in. It is in the interest of the company to ensure that other employees do not fall ill as well. 3. Track time and attendance accurately Before you can start giving rewards out, you need to ensure that you’re tracking employees’ time and attendance accurately. Manual time clocks are no longer reliable, as they are susceptible to time theft. Investing in cloud-based time and attendance software saves you time and energy on processing timesheets. Download a clocking system app for free and give it a try. 4. Start rewarding employee attendance Provide free breakfast once a month. One popular way to reward punctuality is to provide free breakfast. This can be done once a month on a set day, or even more frequently, but on random days. Those who have good attendance will feel the benefits of coming in early, while those who don’t will start thinking about it. Give out small rewards to multiple employees. Gift cards, lunch vouchers, and company apparel cost little but are always appreciated. Keeping the rewards budget-friendly will allow you to give them out to more people and more often. It’s also a great way to keep attention on the program. Create a “hall of fame” for time and attendance. Publicly recognize employees who consistently come in on time and do not have unexcused absences. It will boost their morale, and hopefully inspire others to follow suit. Reward consistent performers with time off. Don’t think of this as additional expense, because a consistent performer will have more than made up for it. This can be the high value reward given out during your end-of-year party. Include a plane ticket and hotel accommodations if you can afford it! 4. Provide consultations for violators Feedback and coaching are important parts of any rewards program. Those who fail to meet time and attendance targets could be doing so for any number of reasons, such as single parenthood, chronic illness, or even financial instability. Understanding what they are going through is instrumental to helping them perform better. 5. Evaluate your program Compare your baselines with data in six months, and then one year later. Evaluate where improvements took place, and what adjustments you can make. Don’t forget to ask for feedback from your employees as well! Working with your employees on policies that affect them will help the company succeed in the long run.

“I have always been a quarter of an hour before my time, and it has made a man of me.” – Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805)

Improving employee attendance has always been a puzzle for business owners and managers. In a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, 29% of respondents said they came in late at least once a month. 49% blame the traffic for their tardiness, 32% blame it on oversleeping, while the rest blame bad weather, procrastination, and “too tired to get out of bed.” For many businesses, but especially in shift work industries, tardiness can mean disruption and loss of profit.

Deducting pay for tardiness is one solution, and is a common one. But employee incentives for punctuality serve to underscore the importance of time and attendance in a more positive way. If you’re looking into implementing an incentive program, below is a step-by-step guide to rewarding employee attendance.

1. Establish a baseline

Using your time and attendance records, establish the baselines of employee attendance. Take note of how many are late, how many are absent, and how many leave work early, and on which days. Flag those with good performance and consistent violations. This will be useful later on in seeking a budget for the program, and evaluating how effective your strategies for rewarding employee attendance are.

2. Be transparent with your plans

Don’t surprise your employees with new attendance policies. Remind them about your expectations on attendance and why you expect them to be followed. Quickly run through the protocols observed for unexpected tardiness and absences. Then, inform them about the attendance incentives you have planned out. This will ensure that they feel like they’re part of the team, and motivate them to participate. Lastly, remind them that the rewards don’t mean that sick employees should feel obligated to come in. It is in the interest of the company to ensure that other employees do not fall ill as well.

3. Track time and attendance accurately

Before you can start giving rewards out, you need to ensure that you’re tracking employees’ time and attendance accurately. Manual time clocks are no longer reliable, as they are susceptible to time theft. Investing in cloud-based time and attendance software saves you time and energy on processing timesheets. Download a clocking system app for free and give it a try.

4. Start rewarding employee attendance

  • Provide free breakfast once a month. One popular way to reward punctuality is to provide free breakfast. This can be done once a month on a set day, or even more frequently, but on random days. Those who have good attendance will feel the benefits of coming in early, while those who don’t will start thinking about it.
  • Give out small rewards to multiple employees. Gift cards, lunch vouchers, and company apparel cost little but are always appreciated. Keeping the rewards budget-friendly will allow you to give them out to more people and more often. It’s also a great way to keep attention on the program.
  • Create a “hall of fame” for time and attendance. Publicly recognize employees who consistently come in on time and do not have unexcused absences. It will boost their morale, and hopefully inspire others to follow suit.
  • Reward consistent performers with time off. Don’t think of this as additional expense, because a consistent performer will have more than made up for it. This can be the high value reward given out during your end-of-year party. Include a plane ticket and hotel accommodations if you can afford it!

4. Provide consultations for violators

Feedback and coaching are important parts of any rewards program. Those who fail to meet time and attendance targets could be doing so for any number of reasons, such as single parenthood, chronic illness, or even financial instability. Understanding what they are going through is instrumental to helping them perform better.

5. Evaluate your program

Compare your baselines with data in six months, and then one year later. Evaluate where improvements took place, and what adjustments you can make. Don’t forget to ask for feedback from your employees as well! Working with your employees on policies that affect them will help the company succeed in the long run.

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Rosie Ramirez

Our team's goal is to provide practical advice for business owners and managers across industries.

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