How to deal with tardy employeesAt one time or another, each of us will be late to work. Life happens and unexpected problems occasionally come up, but what is not acceptable is an employee who shows up late most of the time.

Tardiness costs businesses in the United States more than $3 billion a year. But the cost is not just limited to those who are late. When one person is tardy, the trickle-down effect is enormous. Other employees are forced to accommodate the late person’s schedule, creating a lot of unnecessary work and frustration. This can lead to animosity and (worse) creates the impression that you have a double standard for some staff members vs. others.

It sends an unspoken message that the behavior is somehow okay.  And it is not.

However, if you address employee lateness correctly, you can resolve the problem quickly, easily and painlessly.  Have no idea how?  Following these 6 tips will lead you in the right direction.  

  1. Address the problem immediately. Be proactive and deal with the situation as soon as you see a pattern forming.
  2. Meet in private with the offender.  It may be tempting to address the issue in a generic manner in front of the whole staff. Even though you may think that you are creating policy by addressing everyone, you are – in fact – watering down the message. Schedule a time to meet privately, so the offender fully understands the issue and is less likely to become defensive.
  3. When you talk, verbalize the issue – in the right way. Do not attack the employee.  Remember, you are upset at the behavior, not the person.  So instead explain the importance of being on time and how it contributes to the success of your company.
  4. Come up with an action plan. Find out why the employee is chronically late. If there are legitimate reasons (medical issues or family obligations), discuss reasonable ways you could work together to overcome the problem. A later start time or a more flexible schedule may instantly solve the issue.
  5. Develop a policy and clearly outline the consequences. Keep a written or digital record when an employee arrives late – as well as the excuses and develop a company-wide policy that addresses the consequences for tardiness employees. This includes occasional tardiness and behavior that may affect your bottom line or tarnish a client relationship.
  6. Document the issue.  This is something you should do during the entire process. Document when and why the employee is late. Write down what was discussed during your meeting(s). If a formal warning is required, write it down and require the employee to sign it.  This way, if you do need to terminate the employee, you’ll have the written evidence you need.

Dealing with chronic tardiness at your company?

Snelling can help.  As a leading national staffing firm, we can quickly replace an employee who is not meeting expectations.  We carefully screen and interview all candidates, to ensure they have the work ethic needed to fit in well within your organization. Contact Snelling today for more information.

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