The objective of the procedure is to provide timely and accurate records of staff attendance on which to base management decisions on sanctions, rewards and proper performance assessment and evaluation. Inputs for the procedure are: schedules obtained from a database, observations made by the checker, explanations or justifications made by staff members, policy guidelines. The outputs are daily, weekly, monthly and annual attendance reports which summarize the incidences of attendance- related infractions and observations during the period covered.
Staff members are assigned to specified areas at specified hours during the day. These assignments may change daily but are created on a weekly basis. The assignments are stored in the Schedule Database, from which the staff member obtains his/her weekly assignment.
Monthly and annual reports are prepared summarizing these observations and justifications. NCs have corresponding sanctions and penalties. The reports are also used as basis for the staff performance evaluation.
Details of the procedure are shown in the accompanying flowchart (current version).
- The Problem
Notifications are given at least a week after the observations were made. In many cases, the staff member does not anymore remember the circumstances behind the event; and so, may not be able to justify the NC observation. In some instances, even the checker cannot recall the details of the observation. These incidents result in inaccurate data; and have caused conflicts between staff and supervisor, especially during the enforcement of penalties and sanctions. Staff morale is adversely affected because of these conflicts.
Delays are also encountered in the preparation of the individual memos, as well as in their delivery. The supervisor, especially during busy seasons or when there are a number of NC observations, may not be able to prepare all the memos on time. The individual staff may also not be able to submit justification or explanation letters on time. These delays may add up to a point where the corresponding sanctions overlap and may cause interruptions in the operation.
These problems affect both the timeliness and the accuracy of the information derived from the procedure. More importantly, personnel morale and the good relations between supervisor and staff are also affected. Since the information is vital to the organization’s smooth operation, solving them or minimizing their effects is essential.
- The Proposed Changes to the Procedure
Instead of weekly notification, it is proposed that notices be issued on the next working day after the observation. This would address the first problem. At the start of the working day, the checker should have prepared: (1) the attendance sheet for the day; (2) notifications using form letters filled in with information from the previous working day’s attendance record.
In the course of the rounds, the checker notes the observations on the attendance sheet for the day, distributes the notifications, and collects whatever justification/ explanation letters are submitted by the staff. These steps would address the problem of delays. It is also expected that the accuracy of observations and explanations would improve. At the same time, the supervisor is deloaded of the memo preparation, allowing more time for analysis of the information received and for follow-ups.
Details of the procedure with the proposed changes are shown in the accompanying flowchart (proposed version).
- Proposed Implementation
The input and output data for the procedure are not expected to change. The data for the daily attendance sheets will still come from the Schedule database and the checker’s observations. The weekly, monthly and annual reports will still be prepared in the same formats as the current version. Notification memos, explanation/justification letters will still be issued and kept as records.
However, the notification memo will undergo some changes. It will be issued daily; and the format will be designed to conform to merging with the attendance sheet data. Additionally, it is the checker who will prepare these form letters rather than the supervisor.
Since preparation of the notices will be devolved to the checker, some means of compensation or accommodation has to be designed. To avoid added costs, it is suggested that the first hour’s rounds be eliminated. This hour will be used to work on the added tasks.
It is proposed that a three-week pilot run be planned. The first week will be for an information campaign to make the staff members involved, aware of the changes. The next week would be a parallel run, where both daily and weekly notifications will be given. Should any amendments be found necessary, the third week of pilot implementation will be used to test the amendments.
On the medium-term, it is also proposed that part of the system be computerized and placed on-line. At present, the only part of the procedure that is computerized is the preparation of the daily attendance sheets. Should the procedure be computerized, the Schedule database could be expanded to include the daily updates based on the checker’s observations, as well as the explanations submitted by individual staff members. It would then be possible to gradually make the system paperless.