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10 Great Ways to Improve Employee Attendance

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/23/2011

Employee attendance incentives are a great way to reward your best staff members and spur those with an overage of absences to get on the ball. Following are ten ideas for rewards and incentives, from inexpensive yet appreciated to more lavish and elaborate perks.

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    It is vital that your business has policies in place to prevent excessive absenteeism and tardiness. You should not have to give staff members something extra just so they will show up for work. Rewarding consistently reliable employees, however, will boost morale and is likely to prompt changes from those who tend to be more lax.

    Before doling out employee attendance incentives, set some guidelines and make them clear to your staff. You may want to establish certain levels, such as no absences for a quarter, two quarters and so on, with higher levels of rewards to be earned as well.

    Following are ten employee attendance incentives, listed in alphabetical order, to give you some ideas.

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    Catalog Merchandise

    Find an employee incentive catalog or any other type of catalog in which items are listed by price. Section off specific increments in the book with levels that correspond with those you specified for receiving employee attendance incentives. For instance, employees who have gone one quarter without missing a day get to choose an item between $1 and $25, while those with no absences for half a year can select a $25 to $50 gift.

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    Certificates and Awards

    Everyone likes to be acknowledged and feel appreciated, which is why special certificates or awards make good employee attendance incentives. You can have them specially made or use certificate templates and make them yourself. Either way, be sure that you place a copy of each one in your employee's file for future reference.

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    Company Branded Items

    If your organization has specialty items made with your company brand to give to esteemed clients or loyal customers, let your reliable employees in on the action as well. This only works if you are not already giving employees branded items whenever they become available.

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    Free Training


    Sending your dependable staff members to company-paid training seminars or providing other forms of higher education is a win-win employee attendance incentive. This allows employees to gain skills and knowledge they need to advance in their careers without the high cost often associated with training. The skills they learn will benefit the company, as well.

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    Fun Outings

    Ball Game 

    Set aside specific days corresponding with the time that you give out employee attendance incentives, such as every time there is a fifth Monday during a calendar month. Make this day a special company outing day. Those who are being rewarded get to attend the outing while everyone else holds down the proverbial fort. Take the group to lunch and a movie, a boat ride on the lake, a ball game or a "field trip" to a museum, all-expenses paid, of course.

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    Gift Cards

    Gift cards are always a good bet. They are available in nearly any increment for almost any store or restaurant. You can buy them online or even at your local grocery store. Buy an assortment and allow employees to pick the one they want in order of seniority, or simply purchase prepaid debit cards that can be used like cash.

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    Lunch on the House

    Many businesses have staff meetings for which lunch is ordered in and everyone pays up accordingly. As an attendance incentive, allow employees without absences to order anything from the menu while the company foots the bill.

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    Prime Parking


    Parking can be a great bargaining tool, which makes it an excellent addition to this list of employee attendance incentives. Reserve a few desirable parking spaces, covered and close to the front door, if possible. Dole out special hang tags each month to the employees with the best attendance. If you live in an area where most of your staff relies on public transportation, give out train or bus passes instead.

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    Raffle Tickets

    Instead of giving out incentives every month or quarter, allow employees to earn a raffle ticket for each month they have no absences. At the end of the year, hold a drawing for several prizes. Include at least one big ticket item, such as a trip or a television. The more tickets an employee has, the better her odds of winning.

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    Time Off

    Finally, you can reward employees who do not take excessive time off from work with some time off from work! Allow them to accumulate hours for every week with no absences and take them as approved, paid days off.

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    Image Credits

    Presentation: De Wachter

    Ball game: Schwab

    Parking: Stachowski