Dear Evil Skippy:
What can I do to motivate an employee to show up for work? I have a new guy who does great work when he is here. The problem is he is absent a lot and he’s only been on the payroll for two months. He missed the entire week last week and except for his first week here has never had a full week of perfect attendance. How would you turn this guy around?
I would turn this guy around by re-assigning him to a new boss who understands the basics of supervision. You sure don’t.
— Evil Skippy
You may be a supervisor, but you have not been supervising. Acceptable attendance is a basic job requirement. So why has the new guy lasted this long with lousy attendance? You did not tell me his reasons for being gone, but I am deducing that he did not provide good ones or you would not now be expressing concerns about “turning him around”.
If there are no extenuating circumstances to explain the absences, I vote for termination*(see below). New employees know they are under a microscope and know they are supposed to be at work as scheduled. If unacceptable attendance is what you’re getting now, what happens after a year?
If there are extenuating circumstances of some kind, you still need to sit down with your employee – when and if he shows up for work — and set attendance expectations. You should have set the expectations on his first day of work. Talk to your own boss and/or H.R. manager for guidance.
Today because time is running out. (There may be policies that give you special alternatives that apply to new employees – such as more latitude when it comes to discipline and discharge).
* It should go without saying, but I do not want to take any chances with you. I do not actually have a vote when it comes to terminating your new guy, That was a figure of speech. You need to talk to your boss, HR person or lawyer to know what is appropriate in your given situation.
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