Tardy employees can impact your business' overall productivity, delay and frustrate customers who wind up waiting for service, and even decrease the morale of on–time employees.
Yet besides watching the clock, what can you do to encourage habitually late employees to arrive on time and ready–to–go?
"Many good, hardworking people have a tendency to be habitually late" say experts at Businesstown.com. So, "unless being precisely on time is crucially important, don't bring up the issue with an employee who is occasionally late."
To determine if an employee’s tardiness is a problem, ask yourself the following questions:
Start with a friendly, but firm chat. Remember if you ignore the person's tardiness, the employee may conclude that being punctual is neither important nor required.
During this talk, make it clear that you are generally pleased with the person’s job performance, but starting immediately you need to see this person arriving on time. Also mention how the employee’s lateness effects the business or the rest of the staff. "For example, explain how another worker was unable to get coverage for a break, or how fellow staff had to work extra hard unloading a truck because the employee wasn’t there when expected." 1
Then, expect to see some immediate results. According to Businesstown.com, "virtually all tardiness problems will disappear after a gentle talk."
If the problem should resurface after several weeks or months of a turnaround, remind the employee of how important it is to be on time. Let the person know that his on–time arrivals have impressed you and that you'd like to see that punctuality again.
During these chats, ask the employee if there’s anything that you can do to help prevent tardiness. Examples of how you might help include:
If your gentle talk and reminders don’t do the trick, begin documenting the employee’s tardiness. If your staff punches in using a time clock, tracking the person’s arrival time should be easy. Most time clocks print the date and the exact punch–in time, down to the minute (e.g. JAN 31 AM 9:42).
If your staff does not punch a clock, note what time the employee arrives each day and log it manually. This way, the next time you address the problem, you’ll be able to say accurately, ‘eight times this month you were more than 30 minutes late, five other times you were 15 minutes late.’
Consider using a log book. As these books have ruled pages, you can create one page per employee and takes notes all year. This system will help you track the tardy employee’s arrival times. Plus, you’ll have notes on all of your employees that will help you organize your thoughts during annual performance reviews.
The tardiness may reach a point where you have no choice but to discipline the employee. You might choose to take away some of the employee’s responsibilities, expect the employee to make up the lost time, require them to participate in a performance improvement program, or place them on probation. In some cases, depending on the person’s job, labor laws, or union agreements, you may even be able to dock the employee’s pay.
If done incorrectly, disciplining employees could have serious legal ramifications; consult a lawyer before reprimanding the employee or deducting missed time from the employee’s paycheck.
Finally, remember that your employees will take their lead from you – if you routinely arrive late, they may follow suit