When attendance is down, it affects everyone. It means that other employees who are showing up need to pick up the slack (which can, in turn, de-motivate them and encourage them to call out), it means that deadlines can be missed, it means mistakes may be made, and it may mean more expenses as the business pays for employees to cover those who are absent.
The question becomes, how can employers make sure employees are coming to work? And how should those employees be rewarded for this positive behavior? The answer may surprise you.
Being able to incentivize attendance (outside of the usual benefits of going to work) can help make sure employees are showing up as expected and can keep things running smoothly.
This could be a lunch at the end of the month, where the manager takes everyone who had perfect attendance out or perhaps orders in for them. This could be a raffle that everyone who had perfect attendance is entered in. Or this could be something personalized based on each person's interests.
As an employer, you might gather some personal information from employees about their likes and dislikes. A gift someone might appreciate for a job well done could be a bottle of their favorite wine, or a gift card to their favorite restaurant. This of course depends on the size of your workforce, but consider giving this privilege to managers so they can give something that will be meaningful to employees who are showing up and doing a good job. This may help them feel as if they are personally valued, which can encourage good attendance in the future.
Take financial rewards off the table
Why not just give a monetary bonus for good attendance? Research shows that this actually has the opposite effect. The survey, conducted by the Frankfurt School, showed that people felt less guilty about being absent in a scenario where they would be offered a financial reward for showing up. The monetary bonus made the behavior that was previously considered normal (simply showing up), into exactly what it's called– a "bonus."
Back to basics
More than anything, what helps bring people into work is a flexible, positive work environment where people feel welcomed, heard, and loyal. Unfortunately, this is the hardest to implement.
A great place to start is by encouraging employees to schedule and take their paid time off. Some companies find that unlimited time off helps ensure time off is scheduled ahead of time, which is one of the main drawbacks of sick time and unscheduled PTO, per Indeed.
If you have an attendance policy in place, enforce it, but be open to feedback. If it makes a big difference in someone's life to adjust their shift, allowing them to increase attendance, you might gain the loyalty of an employee and it will be worth making a small change on your end. In the end, it all depends on what kind of business you're in and how your employees respond. It may require some trial and error to determine what's most important to them, but in the end it will pay off.