When one of your employees shows up late to the office, the other coworkers have to make up for their share of the work.
This is disrespectful to the other team members and to you as a business owner. A late employee isn’t respecting your time or their own time.
But situations come up. Sometimes things happen that make us late for work, and we can’t avoid them.
So what should you do if one of your employees has excessive tardiness?
Take a look at these seven tips that will help you keep punctual employees.
1. Find Out Why the Employee Is Late
Most of the time, when an employee shows up to work late, they have a good reason for it. If you begin to notice a pattern of arriving late in one of your employees, don’t just punish them right away.
Take some time to think about their situation.
Could these late arrivals just be unexpected situations (consider things like traffic, weather, a struggle with ADHD, medical problems, sick children, etc.)? Perhaps the employee is a single parent with multiple children. In some of these cases, leaving earlier or getting to work on time can be incredibly difficult.
Maybe you can find a way to help them get to work on time. You can get more info on that here.
This doesn’t mean you should condone their behavior. But it does mean their situation could be different than someone who’s just showing up late simply because they’re disrespectful.
Once you understand their situation, it’s up to you to decide whether you can be flexible with the employee’s start time.
2. Is Their Tardiness a Big Deal?
This might seem like an odd question but think about it. Just how late is your employee showing up to work?
Arriving three minutes late could seem like a big deal to you, but does it really make that much of a difference? If their job isn’t time sensitive (not working directly with customers or clients), is missing three minutes of work really going to change that much?
Of course, you don’t want to let one person get away with being a few minutes late while others are unable to do so. That could come across as favoritism.
But if your employee is only a few minutes late, maybe you can be flexible with their work schedule rather than reprimanding them.
This needs to be within reason. We’ll talk about some other flexible work schedules you can use in a moment.
You certainly don’t want to allow your employees to show up whenever they want or cut their work hours short. So be careful if you decide a few minutes late isn’t a big deal. In some cases, it could spiral into a bigger problem.
3. Don’t Wait to Talk About Lateness
You should talk to your employer about their behavior as soon as you notice their lateness is recurring.
Don’t let yourself get worked up or angry about the situation. Yelling at your employee or being passive aggressive won’t get you anywhere. Not only will it not fix the problem, it could make things worse.
Always remember you’re frustrated with the employee’s behavior, not the employee themselves.
Having a proactive conversation about the behavior is the best way to handle it. Set up a meeting with the employee (it should be one-on-one to respect their privacy), and bring documentation of their late arrivals.
Talk about what is keeping them from showing up to work on time. Your employee should do most of the talking, and make sure you really listen.
4. Let Them Know You’re Disappointed
When your employee realizes they’ve disappointed you, they may become more disappointed in themselves. You should also show them how their tardiness affects the rest of their coworkers.
They may not realize showing up late makes things difficult for the rest of the team.
Make sure the employee knows there are consequences to their late arrivals.
If you work in a business that deals with customer service, tell them how their behavior damages your business’s relationships with customers. If the employee can see how their behavior impacts the rest of the workplace, the problem might be easier to fix.
5. Create a Plan
Once you know why your employee has been consistently late, you can come up with a plan.
And one of the first questions you should ask yourself is how valuable this employee is to your business. Of course, every employee is important, but is this an employee you can afford to be flexible with?
If so, can you provide a different work environment?
This might mean something like a later start time or even allowing this employee to work at home on certain occasions. Maybe you should just require your employees to work a certain number of hours a day and let them pick their own work hours. If they start at 11 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., they’ll finish at 7 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.
Decide if you’re willing to work with the employee and their situation. Remember, every business is different, and you may not allow for this type of flexibility.
6. Show Them the Consequences
Whatever you decide to do, make sure there are consequences for their negative behavior. If you don’t have any consequences in place, the tardiness is more likely to continue.
And make sure these consequences are clear.
Perhaps an employee who is consistently late must make up the time they missed by working over the weekend. You could also take some money out of their pay or bonuses.
You should always give a warning before acting on any of these consequences. Make sure they realize how their tardiness is affecting the company and what you plan to do about it if it continues.
7. Reinforce Good Behavior
When you notice a positive change in their behavior, make sure you give your employee some positive reinforcement. This will let them know you appreciate what they’ve done and will help them stay on the right track in the future.
This is an important part of the process. Don’t forget to let your employee know they are doing better.
Create Punctual Employees
When you notice any negative workplace behavior, you should always be proactive. Don’t wait to set up a meeting and talk about the problem.
As soon as you notice a pattern with non-punctual arrival, address the issue. Waiting will only make you more frustrated and hurt your business.
Need to hire some new employees for your business? You’ll want to give them a background check. Read on to learn why pre-employment background checks are so important.