Attendance management and handling underperforming staff are crucial aspects of effective human resource management. Organizations must implement robust strategies to address these challenges ethically, lawfully, and effectively. This essay aims to discuss various management strategies for attendance and underperforming staff in organizations, including effective absence management, different attendance management practices, and the ethical and lawful management of unsatisfactory performance. This discussion is based on the 7HR02 module of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Effective Absence Management:

Absence management is essential for maintaining productivity and minimizing disruptions in organizations. Effective absence management involves implementing policies and practices that encourage and maintain good attendance while providing support for employees facing legitimate reasons for absence. Organizations can adopt the following strategies:

Policy Development:

Organizations should establish a clear attendance policy that outlines expectations, procedures for reporting absence, and consequences for non-compliance. This policy should be communicated to all employees and regularly reviewed to ensure relevance.

Monitoring and Recording:

Consistent monitoring and recording of attendance data allow organizations to identify patterns and trends. This enables early intervention and the implementation of appropriate measures to address recurring absence issues.

Return-to-Work Interviews:

Conducting return-to-work interviews after each absence episode can help identify the reasons behind the absence, offer support if needed, and discourage non-genuine absences.

Different Attendance Management Practices:

Organizations can employ various attendance management practices tailored to their specific needs. These practices include:

Flexible Working Arrangements:

Offering flexible working hours, remote work options, or compressed workweeks can enhance employee satisfaction and motivation, reducing the likelihood of unscheduled absences.

Employee Engagement and Well-being Initiatives: Promoting a positive work environment through initiatives such as employee recognition programs, wellness activities, and stress management workshops can contribute to improved attendance and overall performance.

Line Manager Training:

Equipping line managers with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage attendance effectively is vital. This includes providing training on conducting return-to-work interviews, identifying underlying issues, and offering appropriate support to employees.

Managing Unsatisfactory Performance Ethically, Lawfully, and Effectively:

Addressing underperformance ethically, lawfully, and effectively is crucial for maintaining a fair and productive work environment. The following strategies can help achieve this:

Clear Performance Standards and Expectations:

Organizations should establish clear performance standards and communicate them to employees. Clarity regarding performance expectations enables employees to understand what is required of them, reducing the chances of underperformance.

Regular Performance Feedback:

Providing regular feedback and coaching to employees can help identify and address performance gaps promptly. Feedback should be constructive, specific, and focused on improving performance rather than criticizing the individual.

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs):

When underperformance persists, implementing a structured Performance Improvement Plan can help address specific performance issues. PIPs should be fair, transparent, and offer support to employees through clear objectives, timelines, and regular monitoring.

Disciplinary Processes:

If underperformance continues despite interventions, organizations may need to initiate disciplinary processes. These processes should follow established legal frameworks, ensuring fair treatment and adhering to employment law regulations.


Effectively managing attendance and underperforming staff is crucial for organizations to maintain productivity and foster a positive work environment. By implementing effective absence management strategies, different attendance management practices, and ethical and lawful approaches to address underperformance, organizations can create a culture of accountability, fairness, and continuous improvement. It is essential for organizations to regularly review and adapt these strategies to align with changing workforce dynamics and legal requirements.

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