Manage your workload and boost client job readiness with these simple agency-wide appointment and attendance policies.
State them clearly. Repeat them often. Enforce them consistently.
Be sure everyone in your agency (receptionist, case managers, employment team, volunteers) is equipped and on-board to enforce them. Make exceptions only in case of serious emergencies.
1. Require Advance Appointments. Making and keeping appointments in advance is an essential U.S. workplace skill. Inform clients about appointments you set or help them learn to call you to request one.
How To Tip: Make appointment cards with blanks for the date and time. Give them to clients to help them remember all kinds of dates, including referrals, required classes, job interviews and appointments with anyone they see at your agency. If everyone uses them, clients will learn how to follow the policy and understand the cards without ongoing transportation.
2. Reschedule After 15 Minute Grace Period. If a client is late, do not meet with them. Reschedule the appointment. If you are later than 15 minutes, apologize to the client and reschedule. Model respectful workplace behavior yourself, too.
How To Tip: If clients are upset by “wasting a trip to your office”, explain that this policy helps make it fair for everyone. They would like you to alter your schedule for them, even if others have to wait. They would not like having to wait or spend less time with you because someone else was late.
3. Do not Allow Unscheduled Walk-ins. Enforce attendance policies unless it’s a life or job threatening emergency. If an appointment is available, set it up so they can wait and not make a return trip later.
How To Tip: You can publicize scheduled walk-in times for any client to get help in 15 minutes or less. If it takes longer, set a future appointment to address the request.
Bonus example: IRC Baltimore has a translated sign in their lobby listing walk-in times when interpreters will be available. Different languages have the same times each week. These times can help clients make future appointments and feel control over how they access services. Saves on interpretation costs, too.