How to deal with no shows

Moira Grassick - Chief Operating Officer

July 05 2023

First published: July 5th 2023
Last updated: July 5th 2023

Sun’s out, staff out – how to deal with no shows

We shouldn’t complain about good summer weather but one common query we receive from employers is how best to manage no shows.

Warm weather, festivals, concerts and sporting events can often conspire against employers who have to deal with either no shows by employees or sporadic requests for sick leave.

If this HR issue isn’t tackled head on, it can cause issues for your business continuity, employee relations and productivity.

So in this post, we’ll take a look at some HR fundamentals for ensuring sporadic absences don’t impact your operations.

Ensure you have an absence management process in place

Having an absence management process in place is the best way to handle short term absences.

Employees will be less inclined to take ‘sickies’ if they know that their absence record is under scrutiny.

Communicate the absence management policy to employees

Your approach to absence management should be put down in writing in your employee handbook.

And while it’s great to have your policies and procedures in one place, they are only effective if they’re properly communicated to employees. If your staff are not familiar with the absence management process, this weakens the benefit of having such policies and procedures in place.

A strong approach to absence management sets the standard in your business and it’s important to make employees aware of your standards.

How does an absence management process work?

The purpose of your absence management procedures is to demonstrate how you deal with a range of absence types.

Typically, an absence or attendance policy includes information around:

  • Who, when and how employees notify the business they’ll be out
  • What constitutes long-term and short-term absences
  • How statutory sick pay will be provided for in cases of absence through illness
  • How often the employee should contact you if the absence continues
  • Frequency that medical certs need to be submitted
  • Return to work procedures/interviews

Managing no shows

The best way to deal with no shows is to focus on the level of communication you hold with the employee when they tell you they will be absent.

Likewise, it’s best to have a chat with the employee when they return to work. A return to work interview is a very effective tool in managing absences.

You should approach these interviews with an open mind and without any intention to settle a score. Return to work interviews let the employee know they will have to account for their absence and in situations where employees do disclose a personal issue in the interview, you can take action to assist them.

The benefit of keeping detailed records

If you notice an employee has a habit of calling in sick sporadically, you should ensure you keep records of all the information around such absences.
If you have good absence records, you can identify patterns. Are certain absences recurring on Monday mornings or the day after a holiday finishes for instance?

Good records will allow you to spot patterns and provides you with evidence if you need to hold a meeting with an employee who has a questionable absence record.

As with all HR issues, you need to manage these situations sensitively.

Expert HR advice with absence management

Knowing how to manage absence effectively is a huge HR asset for any business owner.

If you ignore sporadic absences, it can have a wider impact on your employee relations as other staff will resent having to pick up a persistent offender’s slack.

Recurrent absences may also be down to personal or other issues. So, keep an open mind when addressing employees with a poor absence record.

For expert guidance on absence management or any aspect of Irish employment law compliance, speak to one of our HR experts now on 1800 719 216

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