If an associate has most of his or her performing criteria fall under the high performer category, but does not come to work on time and has an excess number of unplanned absences, does that make him or her a low performer? Can someone be in both categories?
I would say if an employee has excessive unplanned absences and does not come to work on time (unsure of frequency), he or she should be disciplined according to the guidelines of the organization. Even if the employee does a good job when he or she is there, I would classify him or her as a low performer due to the negative impact the absences and tardiness have on others. This person is not following work rules.
When you counsel employees with high absenteeism, explain that while you appreciate their work when present, the hospital provides care 365 days a year and their coworkers and patients depend on them 365 days a year. Therefore, individuals with similar excellent performance who have a better attendance record are more valuable to the organization. I find it is better to focus on their value to the organization instead of questioning whether their illness/absence was legitimate or not.