If you have noticed a pattern of absenteeism, you may need to follow a more structured approach. The intention is the same as a check-in conversation—to find out from the employee whether there is an underlying issue impacting on their attendance that you can help with.
Tools and resources
- Review the employee's attendance record for the previous 12 months and notes/action points arising from any previous return to work discussions.
- Book a meeting room or a private space, and organise to meet with the employee on the first day back at work, or shortly afterwards.
- Consider if HR should attend the meeting.
During the meeting
- Welcome the employee back to work. Explain the purpose of the meeting and encourage a two-way discussion.
- Check that the employee is ready to return, and has not come back too early.
- Use open questions to gather as much information as possible.
- Remember, this is a return-to-work conversation, not a disciplinary hearing. If taking action to manage underperformance becomes appropriate, deal with this separately, and in accordance with your agency's procedures.
- Identify the cause of the absence, and explore ways this can be addressed in the future.
- Be sensitive and considerate to the employee.
- Discuss whether adjustments can be made to alleviate issues impacting on the employee.
After the meeting
- Make note of your discussions, covering all the points raised.
- Consider any reasonable adjustments you can make.
- Determine whether you need to deal with the poor attendance as a performance or engagement issue.
- Continue to monitor the attendance, and take further action where problems continue or return.