Thursday, November 29, 2012

Using Attendance as a Yardstick for Staff’s Attributes

When all else failed, employees would always resort to fake MC. Word of advice to employer: Let the staff have their designated leaves, the commitment will eventually follow 
(or we could hope so) 
During my primary school years, I judged absent students. A part of it was jealousy; another was suspicion. It was the consequence of my mum disapproval on any of my attempt to skip school. Worse still, my school presented an award for a student who excelled in attendance. I had never received such award but there were some special students who were given extra vitamins by their parents and never missed school for the whole year, who did receive that coveted honor. And my mum wouldn’t fail to give me a snide remark to remind me the importance of attendance, “One thing you never got, an attendance reward. If only you were a bit stronger,” she used to say, much to my distaste.  She was right, as always, attendance does show a whole lot about yourself than you are ready to admit.

Not only was attendance a priority in school, later in life we learned that the priority on attendance has never shifted at the work place as well.

Why such priority is placed on attendance? It is apparently the fundamental performance indicator for every person or employee in a company. The logic is simple, what could be accomplished when an employee is out of work. Not much, isn’t it? Every employee is given a number of leave per year to indulge in their preferred activities so how could we explain the absenteeism and tardiness? Negative attributes, most definitely. And the fact that the employees are not motivated to be at work.

In contrast, attendance record could be used to gauge the positive attributes of employees.  The preferred trait a company could hope for from an employee is accountability. Without it, executing any plans either short or long term, could be a climb. And a success of any plan depends heavily on teamwork, which any one fails to turn up would cause the entire team’s instability; hence interrupt the entire schedule drawn up earlier.

One could argue that attendance is not as important as the capability of an employee. Some mediocre employee could be present 365 days throughout the year but not contributing much as well. But again, imagine what could be accomplished if a dedicated employee is always present and motivated to contribute for the company. A whole lot I would say. The fact that he/she puts effort to be present, the commitment level is there for the company.

Attendance also indicates self-control in an employee. It doesn’t matter how you might feel on a personal level but when work is concerned, you attend and be professional.

When I was in college in the 90s, I hated a few courses that were mandatory. My option was always to skip. Instead, I copied the notes from my friends who went. (Yes, you guessed it: my mum didn’t know about this) At the end of the semester I managed to obtain a B- but I could simply get at least an A- if I had cared enough to drag myself to class. See, attendance stresses the importance of learning. You can’t be absent and understand the learning process thoroughly. The point is, everyday is a learning process at work and absence takes away that part, which is an unappealing trait.  

After all is said and done, the bottom line of a business is revenue. When calls are not made as scheduled, when emails are not replied on time, when meetings are cancelled due to absenteeism, the company’s total revenue could suffer.

If you think attendance is not as important, think again. And when your company has a way to value attendance in dollars and cents, everything will make sense eventually. 

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

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