Maintaining good levels of attendance is an ongoing challenge. Yet it often falls to the wayside in a busy contact centre – particularly when an unscheduled staff shortage puts more pressure on everyone else.
So how do you drive good attendance into your business culture? What makes a team member wake up in the morning and want to come to work? Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet, but there are lots of positive changes you can make to start shifting the dial in the right direction.
Stop Wasting Your Time and Energy on Regular “No Shows”
You can probably already think of a handful of people who drain your time, as well as your physical and mental energy, on a weekly basis by arriving late, missing more days than they actually work, and all round driving you a bit crazy with their excuses. Whether you play “good cop” or “bad cop”, nothing you do seems to make a difference… And it needs to stop!
How can you expect to put your energy into the wider team if you are constantly distracted by the minority with exceptionally poor attendance? The sad truth is, these people are probably already on their way out of the door, so keep an eye on them, but beyond that, rise above it and stop giving them your precious time. It’s better invested elsewhere.
Create Some Excitement About Coming to Work
Once you have shifted your focus to the 99% who just need a bit more motivation, there are lots of creative ways to start transforming your contact centre into a fun and exciting place to work.
Why not try some of these?
1. Draw a monthly raffle for everyone with good attendance
The raffle prizes can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, whether it’s spa days and family tickets to the zoo, or extra annual leave, chocolates, and bottles of wine, but with entry into the monthly draw at stake, you should find that some people think twice about “that headache”.
2. Hold a pay-day lunch for full-attendance employees
Why not treat those with full attendance to a “pay-day lunch” at the local pub each month?
It’s a simple and relatively cheap way to say “well done”, and can also give employees the chance to make friends, which can go a surprisingly long way in making people want to come into work each day.
3. Create a leaderboard for good attendance
Why not turn good attendance into a competition, with spot prizes for those in the top 10, as well as a monthly prize draw?
By only making the top performers visible to the floor, the “attendance” leaderboard should help to promote a fun sense of competition – without been seen as an opportunity to “name and shame”.
4. Create a VIP lounge for good attendance
If space allows, why not create a VIP lounge for employees with perfect attendance? This could include comfy armchairs, free snacks, a buffet lunch on a Friday, and more.
Access could be granted on the basis of consecutive days of attendance, so someone who has had several weeks of good attendance can continue to use it, whilst those who suddenly miss a few days have to miss out for a fortnight (or an agreed period of time) to regain access. Alternatively, you can issue one-week passes to those with good attendance the week before, or something similar that suits.
5. Include good attendance in the promotion criteria
It’s probably best to double-check this one with your HR team, but including good attendance in the promotion criteria could really help to motivate those keen to climb the career ladder. It doesn’t have to be a disqualifying point, but could be an added bonus in a point-scoring system when deciding on a shortlist of candidates.
Include good attendance in promotion criteria.
This also has potential to help drive a culture of good attendance in the long term, by making sure your new and aspiring managers and team leaders are setting a good example for their colleagues.
6. Appoint a “fun” committee
Why not invite your colleagues to be part of a “fun committee”? If given a budget to manage, this can empower your teams to decide AND deliver on what they think will make your contact centre a great place to work.
It can also give your employees the opportunity to enhance their skill set, make new friends and enjoy more variety in their day job – all of which can help to improve their personal attendance too.
7. Offer late starts or early finishes
Ask your team what they want!
If you’re noticing a pattern of poor attendance on certain days of the week, see what you can do to accommodate a rota of later shifts and start times on Mondays (for example), or earlier shifts and finish times on Fridays. Or better still, ask your teams what they want!
You may find this extra time and flexibility is exactly what they need to help them get out of bed on a Monday morning, or get away early on a Friday for a weekend break, and curb their need to “call in sick”.
8. Introduce random reward days
Similar to giving out spot prizes across the day, you could try introducing an initiative of random fun days across the month to help to create a buzz on the contact centre floor – as well as make people wonder what they might be missing if they stay home.
This could be as simple as scattering chocolate bars across everyone’s desks, a surprise pizza lunch, or even a spontaneous raffle, but really any idea that gets people talking and rewards those who were in the office on that particular day is a good idea.
9. Introduce a “Hangover breakfast”
Do you have a lot of students working in your contact centre? If you do, you may find you see a dip in attendance the day after the weekly “student night” drinks, and could try introducing a “hangover breakfast” on a Thursday morning (for example) to encourage any avid partygoers to still turn up for their shift the next day. After all, if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them.
Think “Carrot and Support” – not “Carrot and Stick”
Once you’re happy you’ve got some positive incentives in place and there’s some big juicy “carrots” in play to motivate your teams to come to work each day, it’s time to start thinking about the “stick”. Although, when it comes to driving good attendance, it’s better to rethink this approach as “carrot and support” instead.
Why “carrot and support”?
Most people want to do well, if they can, but life isn’t always plain sailing and, despite their best intentions, sometimes even the best employees may need some extra support to keep their attendance on track through the harder times in life.
Here are some ideas for how you can encourage good attendance – even when life gets tough – and simultaneously build respect and loyalty in your teams for the longer term too.
Train mental health first aiders
More and more businesses are waking up to the reality of the mental health crisis in the UK and exploring different ways of offering support to their employees. You can now even train people in Mental Health First Aid.
Engaging your employees in a Mental Health First Aid training programme – such as this one by MHFA England – and promoting this role across the contact centre can help to show your employees that you care about them and that their workplace is a safe space.
Most importantly, you may even be in a position to spot any warning signs early on and give people the help they need to support their overall mental health (and good attendance) whatever they may be going through. This approach also has the added benefit of helping to improve engagement and better attendance longer term for those who qualify as your Mental Health First Aider representatives.
Be more creative with compassionate leave
Could you be more creative with the compassionate leave you offer? There are the obvious cases, of course, such as a bereavement, but what if you also supported one day of leave in the event of a pet dying, or one week for moving house.
Offer an assigned number of duvet days.
You could even offer an assigned number of duvet days (an American initiative which allows employees to take a day off at short notice if they feel under the weather) to help give employees more flexibility and decrease the need to abuse sick days.
This may all seem counter-intuitive, but people who genuinely feel that their employer understands the ups and downs of life are far more likely to want to come to work each day.
For more on this topic, read our article: How Duvet Days Can Reduce Staff Absence
Change your processes and expectations around booking annual leave
Why not set some parameters around use of annual leave? For example, expecting your colleagues to book at least one week off per quarter, planning in long weekends (Fridays and/ or Mondays), and booking in at least 60% of annual leave before the end of January.
It seems extreme, but having these conversations with your teams at the start of the year can help to plan the use of their annual leave to avoid burnout and help keep them happy and healthy at work – with the added benefit of making it easier to schedule around people’s holidays well in advance.
One-to-one coffees once a month
Why not give your team leaders a small budget for taking individual employees out for a one-to-one coffee once a month? This can help to promote stronger working relationships and the opportunity to offer a listening ear for anything that may be going on in their personal lives that could compromise their attendance.
For example, if they happen to mention that they’ve started caring for an elderly relative, you may find you are able to adjust their shift patterns to better support them, as well as ensure that their good attendance at work continues.
For more tips on managing attendance, read our articles: