Consider the following scenarios…
Emily constantly shows up late for work. She takes long lunches and frequently leaves work early on the days that she actually bothered to show up. However since Emily is a top performer when she is present, the supervisor neither tries to correct this behavior nor has the supervisor ever formally disciplined this employee.
Frank is the exact opposite. Always on time for work, Frank leaves only when his shift has ended and never takes long breaks or lunches. One day, he gets a flat tire on the way to work and is 20 minutes late. His supervisor adheres to the company rules and writes up a formal disciplinary note for tardiness.
What went wrong? Or do you think nothing went wrong and the supervisor dealt with each employee in a fair and appropriate manner?
While it is true that the majority of organizations have established employee attendance policies that cover everything from expected arrival times, lunch and other break durations, when an employee may leave at the end of the day and perhaps some general guidelines for excused and unexcused absences, how these rules are interpreted and applied is a very different story.
It is an all too common story as almost every organization contends with this problematic issue. “Problematic” because employees want and need to be treated fairly and equally but human nature being what it is, this does not always happen. When the gap is obvious it leads to employee disengagement, low morale and in some cases, legal action.
The complicated truth is that rule enforcement is complex and supervisors must take into account exceptions for the unexpected, whether that is anything from a flat tire to unexpectedly needing to look after a sick relative. Organizations therefore need to be realistic in their approach to the application of these policies, but this, this is the tricky part.
The question then is can you achieve fairness while adhering to the company rules?
Yes, with a Workforce Management system.
How will it solve this dilemma?
It achieves this by automatically managing attendance policies and by implementing systemized and streamlined processes regarding the management of employee attendance records, thereby taking the supervisor out of the equation. Now the supervisor is no longer viewed as “the enforcer” which fosters a more positive employee/supervisor work relationship.
Furthermore, we all know how inconsistent enforcement of policies takes a toll on employees’ morale and engagement, so any measures taken to remove the potential for disparity is beneficial to all. Low morale can lead to disengagement and disengagement comes with a hefty price tag. Studies show that that disengaged employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year and with such high stakes, it makes sense to address such an important part of the employee experience.