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How to Effectively Utilize Employee Attendance Incentives

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When an incentive program is done the right way, it rewards employees and boosts company productivity. The whole purpose of offering employee incentives is to encourage employees to be top producers. Top producers are measured by metrics, or productivity standards. When setting up your attendance metrics, you have to do what’s in the best interest of the company, while also considering what’s in the best interest of your employees.

Desirable Incentives

To have a successful program, offer desirable incentives - something of value. Otherwise, employees have nothing to strive for. Money talks. Cash incentives are always a winner, if your company can afford to pay them. If you are unable to pay cash, offer other incentive options, such as a bonus day off, employee parking space, free event tickets or gift certificates. If you can’t think of any incentives to offer, conduct a focus group or survey to get employee feedback regarding the type of incentives they would like to see offered.

Realistic Metrics

Some companies, especially call centers, set up a categorical incentive program that covers a variety of metrics, such as quality assurance, call-handling time, after- call wrap up and schedule adherence, also referred to as attendance. Attendance is usually a top metric, where the employee automatically forfeits all incentive rewards if his attendance is not up to par. Of course, every now and then something may happen causing the employee to miss time from work. If your incentive program requires 100 percent attendance 100 percent of the time and leaves no room for employee time off, it can discourage an employee instead of encouraging him to do better.

Short-Term Metrics

Faster incentive payouts can result in higher productivity, as it continuously reinforces good behavior. Some companies offer attendance incentives on a monthly basis. This gives the employee something to strive for each month, instead of tossing in the towel when there is a “hiccup“ in his attendance record. Consider offering special weekly incentives for employees who consistently attend work on days prone to high absenteeism. For instance, you may offer incentives for each Friday of the month the employee has 100 percent adherence. If you only offer incentives on a quarterly, six-month or annual basis, the program may fail.

Make It Plain

To be fair, document your attendance expectations and incentive program rewards for employees. You may include the expectations as part of or separate from the employee handbook. By putting the attendance expectations and incentives in print, the employee understands exactly what is expected of him, and what is required to earn his incentives. Once you start an attendance incentive program, stick to it. If you keep stopping and starting the program, it may decrease employee enthusiasm.


Tara Renee holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration. She is the owner of several small businesses. In her spare time, she loves to share her knowledge and wisdom through writing. Some of her articles have appeared in major media outlets, including "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" and the "Gainesville Times."

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Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images