Incentives: How to Improve Employee Attendance

If you employ hourly workers for your business, chances are that employee attendance is a problem for you. According to the Workforce Institute, the unscheduled absenteeism rate in the U.S. hourly workforce is approximately 9%. This means that nearly 1 in 10 workers is absent when they should be at work every day.

Employee absenteeism can leave you short-staffed and overtax your workers on hand, leading to lower productivity and employee morale, as well as reduced customer satisfaction.

If done correctly, an incentive program can be an effective way to improve your employee attendance and morale. There are two main types of incentives you can give your employees, namely,  cash incentives and non-cash incentives.


Cash incentives

Cash incentives include actual cash and other rewards with monetary value, such as gift cards, vouchers, and all expenses paid trips. Cash incentives are a tried and true way to motivate employers. However, you should be aware of two potential drawbacks of cash incentives.

The first drawback of cash incentives is that they are prone to gaming. For example, if you reward employees for daily on-time attendance over a month, some may call in sick instead of showing up late because it would disqualify them from the program.

The second drawback of cash incentives is that they may actually have a demotivating effect. For example, if a worker is disqualified during the first few days of an on-time attendance incentive program, they will have very little incentive to show up on time throughout the remainder of the program.

To combat the potential drawbacks of cash incentives, you should consider reserving them for rewarding exceptional employees rather than handing them out to everyone who fulfills basic job expectations (such as on-time attendance). To counteract the demotivating effects of incentive programs, consider holding them over shorter periods. This way, disqualified employees will get a chance to participate again shortly.


Non-cash incentives

Non-cash incentives are a viable alternative to cash incentives if you’re low on budget or if you want to avoid the possibility of employees gaming your incentive program. An effective and free way to incentivize your employees is to recognize them for their good performance. Give your best employees a plaque or a certificate, and recognize them for their contributions in front of the whole team. People crave recognition and being recognized for doing a good job and having their peers hear about it is priceless.

Other non-cash incentives include giving employees with good attendance their preferred shifts, as well as extra breaks. The key to having a successful non-cash incentive program is getting to know what your employees actually want. Whereas almost every employee would like any cash incentive, not all of your employees will like any non-cash incentive. Therefore, it’s essential to survey your employees and find out what kinds of non-cash incentives they want.


When incentives aren’t enough

You can have the best incentive program and still suffer from poor employee attendance if your employees don’t feel like they’re part of something larger. If your employees don’t feel like they’re part of a team, they are unlikely to come to work no matter how many incentives you offer. Apart from incentives, you should focus on building unity within your team.

If one of your workers fails to show up for work, don’t emphasize the effect of their absence on you or your business. Instead, tell them how their actions impacted their team and affected their teammates. Your employees are more likely to show up to work consistently if they realize they’re letting their whole team down by not showing up.

Getting consistent employee attendance is challenging but not impossible. As long as you can figure out an incentive program that works for you and build a tightly-knit team, you’ll be on your way to getting your employees to show up for work everyday. Let us help you hire the candidates your need today!



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