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Chris LoCurto


November 13, 2014

Question and Answer – Team Members Calling In Sick

November 13, 2014 | By | 4 Comments">4 Comments

Team members calling in sick


We’ve got a fun topic for today’s show: How do you handle employees who keep calling in sick?

This listener question came to us from Bill who is a manager of about 15 folks.
Here’s his situation: “…about every 2 weeks an employee is consistently calling out sick, at what point do I say “that’s it, I’ve had enough”?

(fyi…we’re sending you a free DISC personality test for sending in your question)

Now you should know that with employees calling in sick I’m more concerned about the person than I am the business. I want to discover how I can help that person. What’s going on in their life? What’s really causing all the absence?

But…if I sense that an employee is abusing their sick day then I must act to protect my companies culture.[/social]

Today’s show is sure to be a doozy!

Question: How do you handle this issue? Do you agree or disagree with me?

  • John R


    As always, a great Podcast and answer to the question. One thing you didn’t reiterate in handling this issue was how to address the situation, if in fact it is a personal situation affecting the individual, with the rest of the team.

    I recall you teaching us before about the idea of a ‘Need To Know’ situation and addressing that with the team: This team member is going through a difficult time and it’s on a need to know basis – if you need to know, he or she will tell you. Apart from that, he or she needs to take a day off periodically and we as a team are going to work together to support her.

    Thank you for the great content. I’m hearing you, learning it, and applying it.

  • William Edmondson

    Different Bill here.

    I recently went through the last several months of all my directs’ PTO and sick time records. Turns out 90% of sick days were on Fridays. How weird is that?! What are the odds?

    My first impulse was to call the CDC. They would be very interested in the flu virus’s preference for the last day of the work week.

    Then I realized we had probably just started developing an unhealthy culture (see what I did there?) In my following one-on-ones. I pointed out I had noticed the trend and reiterated 1) Friday is a work day 2) sick days are not vacation days.

    I see it initially as a failure in my setting of expectations. If it continues however, expectations have been reset and I now can have a more direct conversation.

    Also, I would suggest Michael Hyatt’s recent podcast on confrontation. So helpful. I actually got a chance to use the advice and it is spot on for this kind of situation.

    • Joel Fortner

      Good stuff! Are you all doing anything to address the larger culture issue you detect?

      • William Edmondson

        Absolutely, but carefully. I am prone to action and will charge off only to realize nobody is following me. Oops. What is a leader without followers?

        Ultimately, I think the core issue is lack of vision…again a me problem not a team problem. I have a team of smart, dedicated individuals who are wanting for a shared cause.

        Sinek’s “Start With Why” goes to the heart of the issue. I am trying to construct the “Why” of what our team is doing. It is a daunting process and not something that will be completed over the weekend.

        Ugh, go faster Culture! There are some things I want to accomplish.