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Common Attendance Management Mistakes—and How to Fix Them

Why Attendance Management Matters

Showing up is half the battle. You can have the most talented team—but it won’t do you any good if they aren’t actually present. Absenteeism is a big problem: 3% of the entire workforce is absent on any given day, the Department of Labor have estimated. And you can’t ignore tardiness either: 20% of Americans are late for work at least once a week, according to YouGov polling.

Lost minutes add up and so does lost productivity, which hurts your bottom line. To understand (and prevent) poor attendance you need to track who is turning up for work, and when. But this isn’t easy—especially when more and more work is happening remotely.

Common Time and Attendance Management Mistakes

As an HR leader, you’re responsible for monitoring employee attendance and making efforts to minimize absenteeism and tardiness. But many businesses either fail to do this or waste time and effort with ineffective solutions. Let’s break down ways that attendance management can go wrong.

  1. No Attendance Tracking Plan In Place

    If you’re worried about attendance, it’s normal to feel like you don’t know where to start—but the biggest mistake a company can make is to simply ignore attendance. You don’t just face losing out on labor cost, you’ll also fail to spot important attendance trends—when attendance is down and tardiness up, it’s a sure sign of problems with engagement, which will inevitably end up hurting productivity.

    So, your first step is to create a plan: you need to figure out how to collect attendance data, what you will do with the information and assess what tools you have at your disposal to address attendance issues. You’ll also want to be aligned with federal and state regulations where your business operates.

  2. An Unclear (or Non-Existent) Policy

    At the heart of attendance management is a clear and consistent policy, easily understood by all your employees. What counts as on time isn’t always obvious—especially in a remote environment. Is there a strict time employees must show up, or is there flexibility? Importantly, what’s the punishment for repeatedly turning up late, or not turning up at all? Having no official policy leaves these issues as a gray area—confusing well-meaning employees and incentivizing abuse by others.
  3. Not Using the Right Time Tracking Tools

    Having an effective policy in place is a great start—but only if you can actually follow through on it. What that requires is attendance tracking, which (unless you work in the smallest of businesses) is just impractical to do manually. This is where an attendance management system comes in.

    You need a system; but it has to be the right system. While basic systems can save you time, they are also unable to prevent buddy punching and time theft. With the right software, linked up to your HR platform, you can not only measure employee attendance but automate enforcement of your policy.

    Paycor Time & Attendance offers multiple methods in which employees can clock in—on mobile, using a time clock or even using fingerprints—and gives administrators the opportunity to create ‘window of time’ rules, tracking occasions when employees clock in later than permitted. Remote clocking-in can be restricted to specified geographic locations, so you know that employees are always where they need to be.

  4. Failing to Reward Positive Attendance Records

    Another way that businesses go wrong is by only concentrating on the negative aspect of attendance—preventing and punishing tardiness and absenteeism. Instead, a great attendance policy should also be about recognizing unsung heroes with perfect attendance records.

    Paycor Time & Attendance gives companies the option to maintain a points balance for attendance, so you can celebrate those who always show up on time and create coachable moments when standards slip. Best of all, you can manually add points for other positive events (like customer praise or avoidance of workplace safety incidents)—this way, your time and attendance system can be at the heart of your employee recognition efforts.

  5. Leaving the Power of Attendance Data Untapped

    Tracking attendance is mostly about the little things—the missed minutes and hours that add up to wasted labor cost. But businesses go wrong if they don’t also use the opportunity to see the bigger picture. Attendance data can be used to collect valuable learnings and actionable insights.

    Paycor Time & Attendance offers robust reportage on attendance, so you can spot trends early. If one department (or the direct reports of a particular manager) suddenly start showing up late (or not showing up at all), you can be quick to investigate and identify the root cause. This way, you can use attendance data to troubleshoot real-time engagement problems anywhere in your organization.

Paycor Can Help

Paycor Time & Attendance can help your organization improve your attendance management, monitor and reduce labor cost, and collect reliable timesheets for payroll.

To learn more, talk to a member of our sales team.