Employee attendance issues have plagued the physical security industry for years. If your officers are consistently late or call off from work, this can affect your bottom line as well as the morale of the whole operation.
While it's not reasonable to expect perfect attendance, chronic call offs and tardiness should be addressed quickly.
We’re going to cover how to reduce employee callouts with 9 proven strategies
- Hire the Right People
- Keep Detailed Records
- Deal With Issues Promptly
- Recognize Good Performance
- Let Guards Make Up Missed Shifts
- Set a Good Example
- Set the Ground Rules
- Route Callouts through a Manager
- Follow Up
1 Hire the Right People
The best way to reduce employee callouts is to hire the right people in the first place. Do this by:
- Taking your time hiring (but not too much time! If you wait around too long, you might miss out on great candidates in this competitive labor market).
- Run background checks
- Review and call employee references
Being proactive and putting the time into finding the right people builds a reliable team.
2 Keep Detailed Records
Detailed record keeping for employee performance is critical. And in most states, required. Without documentation, it can be difficult to identify and address these issues.
Leverage security workforce management software to support scheduling, allow your team to communicate pick up and drop shifts and of course keep track of any attendance issues.
Take Action: Set time aside each week for working on attendance records. This will save you time and frustration in the long run.
3 Deal With Issues Promptly
Avoid falling behind schedule and missing deadlines when a team member calls out. If you notice an employee is regularly calling off work due to sickness or an emergency during the busiest times, they may be abusing the system.
Don’t jump to conclusions though. Make sure you address their attendance issues openly. It’s possible they are having trouble and require additional support.
It’s always best to deal with attendance problems quickly. Even if the employee is top-notch at other responsibilities but has the bad habit of consistently arriving late to work, this is a problem that should be resolved.
If you appear to tolerate one employee’s tardiness, this can create culture issues on your team in addition to wasting your company’s money.
Take Action: Create a clear employee policy on tardiness & "no-show" absenteeism. This is 100% necessary to make sure everyone knows what is expected and the outcome if the rules are not followed.
4 Recognize Good Performance
Recognition is a powerful way to motivate your guards and boost morale. One way to do that is by rewarding good performance with compensation, which will encourage employees to be in compliance with the rules.
Take Action: You might consider incentivizing your employees for attendance and punctuality by offering a reward. Whether that’s a plaque, paid time off, or a gift card, just make sure they understand why they are receiving it.
We’ve also found that a little competition can be highly effective. You can offer a group reward for punctuality or perfect attendance over a set number of days. Just remember not to penalize people for calling out for legitimate reasons because that can also create resentment and might lead to turnover.
5 Let Guards Make Up Missed Shifts
If you have guards who are consistently calling out, you’ll want to take disciplinary action.
One strategy that we’ve found to be effective for addressing call offs at work is to provide employees with the opportunity to make up missed shifts. You'll find that many of your officers are more than willing to make up time for absent shifts to make up for a potential loss in pay.
6 Set a Good Example
Setting the right example is key. If managers and supervisors are routinely late, this sets the tone for the whole company. This tells employees that it's okay to be late.
When those in leadership positions are punctual and don’t abuse calling off from work, employees will notice their work ethic and attempt to follow suit.
Take Action: Work with your managers and supervisors to ensure they are familiar with the policy on tardiness and “no shows.” Since they have to lead by example, they need to know the rules well and follow them.
7 Set the Ground Rules
When a team member’s attendance becomes less than ideal it’s important to explain how not adhering to the schedule affects the whole team. People always respond better to change when they understand why it’s important. It’s possible that your guards don’t realize how no call no shows impact the others. That other people have to work harder to pick up the slack.
So, just sharing the bigger picture with your employees may nip the issue in the bud so that further disciplinary action is unnecessary.
Take Action: Don’t just wait for security guard attendance issues to happen to set the ground rules. Make sure that security guard time and attendance policies are part of onboarding and ongoing training.
8 Route All Call Offs Through a Manager
It’s amazing how well this works. It’s much easier for employees to take off work at the spur of the moment when they call in to the receptionist or leave a message with a colleague or on voicemail.
Take Action: Make it a rule that employees have to call their manager if they cannot show up for work. If the employee has a true emergency or valid reason for their absence (e.g. illness, Jury Duty), they aren’t likely to have a problem calling their manager to let them know. But if they are trying to skip work, having to call and lie to their manager can be enough to decrease callouts.
9 Follow Up
No matter the reasons an employee calls out from work, make sure you follow up. Following up has the dual purpose of letting employees know you care and also that you’re aware of absences.
If an employee called out for an approved absence like an illness, check on them and how they are feeling to see if they are able to come back to work or will need more time. Don’t try to force them back to work if they need more time. Instead, express your concern and offer to give them additional shifts when they’re better if they want to make up some lost income.
When you follow up on approved absences, you start to build a more positive work culture. You show that you care about your employees and their wellbeing.
And if you routinely follow up after absences, employees are likely to think twice about abusing the system.
There’s a lot you can do to improve security guard attendance
Life happens. Traffic jams and sickness can’t be avoided. What's not acceptable is when an employee never seems to be able to make it to work on time or calls off work regularly. If that’s the case, the employee is not respecting your time or the time of their team.
You can prevent this from happening by keeping good records, proactively dealing with issues that arise and practicing preventative maintenance.
Accountability and reliability are both critical aspects of running a successful security business. If you don’t set the right example and engrain timeliness and a culture of respect into employee training, this can start to have big impacts on morale. If left unchecked, over time this can lead to turnover, which is a huge cost for your business.
Don’t wait to take action! With a variety of automated reports, you and your supervisors can stay constantly aware of urgent issues, under performing personnel, and more.