Pink flip flops on the beach

Top 5 tips for managing summer madness

Managing your employees in the summer months

Olympic fever has hit, a two week heatwave is predicted, summer holiday madness has started! In the workplace, some employers may notice a direct correlation between summer madness and attendance levels. As temperatures and success in the Olympics soar, so too do absence levels. Ok, we’re being somewhat cynical but it has been known that our clients have, on occasion, found that absence in the summer months and during major sporting events, may not always have been for the real reason the employee suggested (particularly when their photos of celebrations on Facebook and sunsets on Instagram, reveal otherwise!)

So here are our top 5 tips for managing employees in the summer months.

#1 – Set out your expectations

In your contracts of employment, staff handbook and via internal communications you have the perfect vehicle to make it clear to employees what you do and don’t expect of them and what you will and won’t tolerate in terms of; making holiday requests, attending work, reporting absence and behaviours on social media. Make sure key expectations are set out in the contract and handbook. And for those one off occasions, like enabling employees to watch a one off sporting event, send out clear internal communications about how this will operate and how they can be involved.

#2 – Address issues early

If you are doubting an employees’ intentions and perhaps question whether their absence was valid (for example: a one off sick day on the hottest day of the year), talk to them about it on their return. This may genuinely have been the case but if it wasn’t, a well-structured and objective return to work discussion might make them think twice next time.

#3 – Refer to your social media policy

If the cynicism continues, you could check the employee’s social media accounts (subject to them being available in the public domain) to see if they were on their sick bed on the hottest day of the year, or on the beach. When their publicly viewable Instagram account, reveals photographs of beach cricket followed by a sunset barbeque, you might question the validity of their absence. Make sure you have a social media policy that refers not only to appropriate use with reference to their employer but that you reserve the right to refer to available content on social media accounts, if necessary, as part of your disciplinary procedures.

#4 – Offer managers clear guidance

Line managers aren’t always comfortable confronting members of their team about attendance. Offer them clear guidance as to what they are expected to address and how they can approach these conversations. Consider developing their people management skills in managing absence and provide a clear policy and procedure that managers can apply. Update them regularly on the Company’s position on certain one off events (for example, allowing employees to watch sporting events) so that teams are treated consistently.

#5 – Celebrate summer with your employees

Summer is a great time for building employee engagement, goodwill and commitment to your business. Simple activities like a team summer BBQ, setting up a television so employees can watch the odd international sporting event during work time and buying a round of ice lollies when the mercury soars, can all pay dividends in improving engagement, loyalty and a sense of wellbeing at work.

How our employment & HR consultants can support you

Our expertise within our Employment and HR team enables us to support employers in addressing attendance issues and in developing your HR policies. We can run training sessions for managers and leaders on handling absence and support you in drafting sensible, practical HR policies which set out the Company’s position to your workforce. For more information on our HR consultancy offering please contact Bex Sinclair, Head of the HR Consultancy team on 0345 209 1831 or email bex.sinclair@clarkewillmott.com