DEAR MOMENTS OF FOCUS: I have a good employee who works hard when she’sat work but takes off sick a lot causing the rest of the office to pick up the slack. How do I fix the situation?
DEAR MANAGER: A lot of employees have outside issues that affect their work habits. Some slack off at work because they can’t handle the work-life balance; others work extremely hard while at work to preserve their reputation because they know that situations within their personal lives, like taking care of an elderly parent, dealing with childcare issues or managing existing health problems will cause them to be absent in the future. Nevertheless, the best way to lead an employee down the road toward success is to help them develop a proper perspective for the situation at hand. It is best to start with a positive first-case scenario instead of the worst-case scenario. Because you have acknowledged that your employee is an asset to your company, take a moment to protect your investment. The following are two quick ways to get a jumpstart on resolving your problem:
Let your employee know that you value her work and would like to set a meeting to discuss what she would like to do in the future. Tap into who she is as a professional and any goals that she may be working toward. When an employee knows that you see them for both who they are and who they are trying to be they also understand that you are truly paying attention to their actions. This alone will typically revamp their work habits.
Expose her to opportunities through training. Employees who understand how their role and work impacts the company are more likely to show up and increase their performance. Companies will sometimes give more responsibility to an employee who is a great worker but “slacking off” or “under performing” in an effort to give them more visibility, accountability and understanding. Taking the time to speak with her about how important her role and daily contributions are to the company will either encourage her to be there more often or understand why she may have to be replaced if she continues to be absent. Either outcome will put you in a position to develop your employee and protect the company’s interest.