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Dear All
I am working as an HR manager with a service provider company. Due to service provider business model, with high customer orientation, team member have to stay beyond office time. But our MD wants everybody to come on office time. As an HR my dilemma is how can I get the team members to come on time. They refused to comply, as they are already staying back office beyond the office time.

From India, Bhilai
Kindly provide more information about the size of the firm and how old it is, etc. Please also ask the MD whether it's ok for staff to leave on time, as he expects them to come on time? Do the staff get paid over-time rates if they stay behind to provide service to customers?
From United Kingdom
Dear sulochana,
Can very well relate to your query as I am undergoing the same situation.
Educate your employee that if a person puts in extra hours, he needs to be given some appreciation for that.
If most of your employees stay back late, suggest your MD to revise office hours for your customer relations team (only for the department who are working with customers)
Many companies allow considerable late entry if the person sat late previous evening. One needs to understand that there are some basic comforts to be provided like atleast 8-9 hours of rest period in a day.
What I do is, I talked to the team leader of the concerned department and asked him an upper cap of the time when all should be present and beyond which he would be marked late. Fortunately my CEO and president liked the idea and hence is supporting in this. You will have to educate your MD to give certain comforts to your employees so that they are motivated and engaged.
Hope this helped.

From India, Mumbai
To support Ankita Shah's advice, let me quote an example from my knowledge. I know of cases of marketing people who work with global clients in a computer firm. They are given due recognition for working late (They are not paid anything extra for working long hours) and also are allowed to work from home to answer queries. They also have core working hours with flexible working hours (Everyone has to be in between say 10am and 3pm on most days and can be absent with due permission from their bosses).
From United Kingdom
Dear Nashbramhall Sir,
Thanks for response.
60 members is working in our company.13 years has been completed successfully.MD told in interview to every one that he or she has to stay beyond office time if work load is there.

From India, Bhilai
Thanks Sulochana for your response. I wonder why your MD wants to introduce this new rule, if people have been allowed to come late all these years. "Old habits die hard"; hence, your MD must be prepared to negotiate with the workers. Being a small firm, if I were the MD I would call a meeting of all the staff and debate the issue. At the meeting pros and cons of insisting on everyone coming on time should be discussed.
I do not know the employment situation in your firm, as I am based in the UK and you have not given enough information about your services. If your MD is prepared to lose staff by insisting on them coming on time then he may succeed. Otherwise, he should be prepared to lose some valuable staff at considerable expense.

From United Kingdom
Hi Sulochana,

Found an email related to your problem... The little difference in the said case is that it focuses on absenteeism... However, if we logically think, late coming to office is similar to absenting oneself from work for that period... You can modify the case and suggestion... Since this was an advertisement mail, I had to modify it to the extent of deleting the promotional content.

Hope this helps -

Employee absence — Solving that problem

Mary was furious with Paul, one of the customer service phone reps she supervised. He had called in sick again, forcing the other employees to pick up the slack. Paul was averaging one sick day every two weeks. It simply wasn't fair.

"Please get Paul on the phone for me," Mary said to one of her staff.

As she sat angrily at her desk, she thought about how she would let Paul have it for showing so little respect for his colleagues.

But then she had a sudden doubt. What, legally, could she say to Paul? Would the fact that she had called him at all mean that she was harassing him? Suppose she fired Paul, and he sued for harassment? Would she be fired — and all because she was trying to manage as effectively as she knew how?

Proactive Steps

Many employers get caught up in a cycle of repeated attempts to reform these types. That's a mistake because the costs of employee absenteeism — reflected in lost production, overtime and temporary replacements for the absent worker — can add up quickly.

In fact, some personnel experts estimate that an absent employee costs a company 1.75 to 2.5 times his daily salary. Some large companies estimate that absenteeism may be costing them more than $500,000 per year.

How can companies combat the problem? Approaches vary, but most successful absenteeism programs include a positive discipline program.

Use Positive Discipline

Because absenteeism typically comes under the "minor problem" category, the first step is a precounseling session between the individual and his supervisor. In this session, the supervisor determines if the employee understands the company's policy on absences.

The positive discipline approach then consists of the following stages:

1) Oral reminder stage.

This stage follows the counseling session and lasts three months or however long seems to be in the company's best interest. But the period has to be uniform for all employees. If you resolve the problem, the slate is wiped clean and so is the documentation of the incident.

2)Written reminder stage.

If the problem still exists after the counseling session, a second counseling session between the employee and his supervisor is scheduled. This time, however, the supervisor writes a memo to the individual spelling out the problem, the worker's acknowledgment of it and his agreement to work toward its resolution.

A copy is placed in the employee's personnel file. The written reminder stage lasts six months, or however long you think is best for the company. If the problem is resolved within this time, the memo is considered inactive and there are no repercussions for the worker. However, don't discard the memo — keep it in the employee's personnel file.

3) Decision-making stage.

If the absenteeism problem still exists after the written reminder stage, the supervisor has a final meeting with the employee, during which he spells out the company's policies again. Then the employee is given a one-day leave of absence to decide if he wants to continue working for the company on the condition that he agrees to abide by its rules.

Employee leave is a complex subject, because federal regulations are extensive and your state has its own laws. Leave is also important, because it affects productivity and morale, and the legal stakes are high.

From India, Mumbai

In most customer facing organizations the customer service team work in shifts.

The shifts are so aligned that the core team are present in office during a fixed time such as 10:30 to 4:30. Not all such team members need to be on shifts. The Manager of that function can work out how this can be done. Shift timings are also changed so that all employees work by turn in different shifts.

I have done this in my previous organization and it worked very well. We had customer service personnel in office from 7 AM to 12 mid night all days of the week. We also ensured that each employee got his/her two days off in the week.

We had devised an Excel worksheet to plan this out with formulas to ensure that staff got different shifts every two months. You would have to use employee codes for the formula to work.

Actually this is the work of the function head as he/she would know the timings for the shift, HR can be a facilitator.

Work out a schedule and discuss it with the employees and the MD, I am sure this will work out.


From India, Hyderabad
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