It has been a juggling issue for HR managers or business owners to manage employee's attendance and time policies. It is especially difficult in the Indian scenario where many things are consumed by the employee at an emotional level.
In that case, what should we do? Should we leave the ropes loose and let employees dictate the terms or make the rules so stringent that the employees have no way around it?
Here's a list of a few ways that will help you create and implement T&A policy more effectively:
Setting clear expectations about the work timings, late arrival & early-go timing, lunch timings, half day hours is something so obvious yet completely missed out by many employers. They fail to either define the expectations or SHARE it with the employees effectively.
Let your employees know how much leeway they have before you consider them late ― and at what point you consider them absent. Do you expect them to contact you if they'll be late? Tell them.
It is important to make the employees aware of their specific work-related time & attendance policies from the very first day of their job. In addition to documenting the policy, be sure to add disciplinary procedures when employees violate the policy in the same document. Keep it light in nature and tone.
Secondly, after your employees receive the policy, ask them to sign an acknowledgment document indicating that they have read and understood it. Getting a copy of acknowledgment makes it clear to them and us that they have indirectly accepted to adhere to the terms.
When you find an employee consistently coming late or not adhering to one or more rules as per the time & attendance policy, give them the benefit of doubt. It is healthy and important to ask what is it behind these absences or tardiness besides a poor attitude?
Ask ― Are they struggling with their health? Perhaps cutting back on a few hours temporarily might help. Has their daily route of travel changed? A later start to their shift might allow them to make it in on time.
This “approach” can not only help you solve tardiness issues but can also enable you to learn more about your employees and in turn, develop a healthy employee relationship.
Have you ever considered other options than fixed-work-hours policy? Perhaps a bold move of making work hours more flexible (yet result oriented) could do wonders for few of the organization's departments.
ROWE (Result-only-work-environment) is one such HR strategy that can help in improving the overall efficiency of the organization multiple times and make employees happier.
However, keep in mind how this shift can affect people's mind and work culture.
Time and again, psychology studies have shown the power of positive reinforcement. Recognizing the employees who are most consistently adhering to the time and attendance policy of the company can help reinforce a positive work culture and show that the company acknowledges such behavior.
By announcing the name in monthly or quarterly group meetings or putting it up on the employee notice board can do wonders. Employees will feel recognized and appreciated, while others will work harder to ensure they get the same positive treatment next time around.
There is no better source than the employees themselves to tell you about how your policies are working for them.
You can ask them if there is any scope of improvement in the existing system? How comfortable are they with the current policy? Are they facing any challenges?
Addressing the issue by communicating with the employees and keeping a note of such records can give you a wide idea about what changes in time & attendance policy can be brought in the future.
Ensuring that employees adhere to the company's time & attendance policy is important. But it is equally important that you understand them, listen to their side of the story and work towards building a mutually positive work environment. By applying the above steps, we can try to strike the right balance between the two and also gain valuable insights from within the company and from the employees.
Do share your KEY realization and which ways would you like to adopt from the above. You can also share some other points that you have taken in the past, which has helped you in dealing with employees with respect to time & attendance policy in a better way.