Can We Talk About Absenteeism?

Unscheduled absenteeism is a problem in some workplaces. It has many root causes, but it triggers so many other problems.

  • Lower customer satisfaction (in a service industry)
  • Lower productivity
  • Higher costs (paying for PTO or not, many times the people that cover may be overtime or excess workforce you keep in case)
  • Lower morale of those attending work
  • More headaches for the supervisor or manager

The list doesn’t end there, but those are some major consequences.

Showing up to do a job sometimes is half the job. After all, if the person is not present, it’s hard for them to do the work. Here are the two methods that I find most effective to shore up attendance. I would suggest using them together for best results.

  1. Have a heart-to-heart with the employees who are absent the most. Let them know that you care about their health, but you need to ensure their attendance. Some cases may qualify for FMLA, so be prepared to discuss their options with them. Above all, ask them for their help in increasing their reliability by being absent less often.
  2. In accordance with the HR policies in place, be prepared to enforce the attendance guidelines. While some of these people may perform well when they are there, they are also causing many other problems by their excessive absenteeism. The enforcement of the policy should be fair and equitable. In other words, what’s good for your bottom performer is good for your top performer.

In the end, you may lose an employee to excessive absenteeism. However, by making the policy clear to all, by expressing your concern for their health, and by enforcing the policy, absenteeism will decrease. Chances are, you will see the following effects, too:

  • Better customer satisfaction
  • Higher productivity
  • Lower payroll costs
  • Higher morale for all
  • Less stress for you

Please take a moment to leave a comment, suggestion, or recommendation for another topic that may help you. Also, please follow me on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook.



Have You Thanked an Employee Today?

There can be so many problems and situations that arise daily for a front-line manager that it can sometimes be easy to forget those who help you do your job better. It’s hard to focus on the positive actions your employees took and easy to fight the next fire.

Today, I ask you to slow down and think about those employees who are helping you by going above and beyond to do their job well. Here are some ideas that I’ve tried in the past, or have seen others try that work well:

  1. Hand them a thank you card – Go to the Hallmark section of any Walgreens or grocery store and buy a box or package of blank inside thank you cards. Keep this in your drawer and write a personalized note once in awhile inside the card to give to the employee. They will appreciate the personal touch.
  2. Give them a $5 Starbucks card – These can be purchased at any Starbucks and who doesn’t like free, top-grade coffee?
  3. Recognize them in front of their peers – Call a huddle or quick meeting and personally thank them in front of their peers. Give them a note or a handshake and say something sincere about how what they did helped the team or helped you do your job better.
  4. Bring in donuts or muffins – For a team thank you, a boss can earn kudos by bringing in a tasty breakfast! Donuts from the local donut shop, or muffins (my favorite are Costco’s!) are tasty and most will love them!
  5. Pat on the back / handshake / and a thank you – In the middle of the workday, approach the employee, and sincerely thank them for what they did. Tell them how what they did made a big difference (be specific), and give them a handshake or a pat on the back.

Today, I want you to thank an employee! Leave me a comment on what you do to personally recognize an employee’s effort. Also, subscribe to my blog by clicking Follow and follow me on twitter @JoeCroarkin!


thank you

Bottom Line: How well do you know your People?

When people say, “bottom line,” many times they’re referring to the results. As a results oriented American business culture, managers put the pressure on employees to get the results, and sometimes they do not take time to understand what will motivate them for those results. I have one quick way to find out what motivates people and to get them to work for you as much as the results.


I must admit that I got this technique from my former boss Josie, my favorite manager in my career. When I transferred over to her facility, I got to meet 100 new employees. And 95% of them worked their hardest, but they worked their hardest for her. I noticed as the operations manager, she would walk around the facility, and, more often than not, her conversations with employees would be about them or their family, or some other endearing detail she had learned before. These employees were not afraid of her. In fact, they wanted to exceed all of their expectations because they felt as if she cared about them as people, at least as much if not more than, as employees.


Ask yourself an honest question: As the boss, do the majority (or all) of your conversations during normal business times reflect work related topics? Ask yourself another question: Do the people you got to know the best personally also seem to be your most reliable and hardest workers? I would be curious to hear what your honest answers are to these questions.


So, the bottom line is not the results, but it is, “How well do you know your People?” Please leave me a comment, follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to this blog by clicking on Follow.



Assuming Positive Intent

He always does that!


She never checks her work!


As a manager, do you sometimes have too many balls in the air and not enough time to address issues with employees? It’s only natural that we sometimes have these moments. Depending on our position, we have many more fires to put out, and it seems easier to blame the employee rather than looking deeper into the causes.


By looking deeper, I mean assuming positive intent.


It’s a popular research topic, and it seems that the best leaders assume positive intent. So, what goes into assuming positive intent?


  1. Asking questions – Having a short conversation with the employee can do wonders. “I saw you doing that, and I have a hard time understanding why. I know you have a well thought out reason/plan. Can you take me through that?”
  2. Listening – This is a skill that needs to be honed over time. It’s sometimes not the words, but it’s the tone, eye contact (from both parties), and confirming your understanding of the other. “If I heard you correctly, you said…” It’s also in asking clarifying questions to understand what it’s like to be in their shoes. “I understand you’ve been busy this last week. What obstacles specifically did you face?”


After trying to understand their point of view with good listening skills, the ideal boss would look for ways to either help remove some obstacles for the employee or whatever seems to be needed (additional training, access to resources, etc.)


However, someone who does not assume positive intent will not have their listening ears open to try to understand the obstacles and issues that the employee had.


As a manager, leader, coach, and mentor, these are the opportunities for you to make a difference in that employee’s productivity and engagement. Don’t pass on these moments. Assume positive intent!

think positive

Confidentia – Support for You

This is the post excerpt.

As managers, it seems we are often put to the test. We’re motivators, teachers, leaders, babysitters, psychologists, business people, the first to take the step into something new, and the last to hold the line while fires rage throughout.

I will touch on thoughts that we should focus on to become the best managers, leaders, coaches, and mentors we can be. I want to give you the confidence and belief that you can be your best for your employees every day.

Sometimes, it’s hard to bring out the best in your employees. Motivation isn’t easy. Engagement isn’t easy, either. Every employee is different, and there will be different tacts to take depending on the individual or circumstance. However, there are some very central ideals that guide your approach to management, and these are the ideals that bring me sanity and satisfaction at my job.

Some of the blog topics might be things you haven’t thought about before. Others might just give you the trust and dependence on an ideal that you can attain as a manager. Hopefully, all will build the faith that you can help your employees. You can help them overcome their obstacles to achieve success for you and your company.

There will be opportunity for you to share with me your thoughts on the subjects blogged about. I look forward to discussing or debating many points with my readers. Most of all, if there is something that I write that helps you, I will have done what I have set out to do. Think of these blogs as Support for You. Thank you in advance for taking a moment to read my blogs!