How to Handle Employee Tardiness

Whether you own your own business or you are a managing a team for a large corporation, you rely on your employees to help you do your job efficiently.  If an employee is constantly late for work, it can start to negatively impact their performance as well as the morale of the team.  Other employees will start to take notice and this can cause a great deal of frustration within the office.  While it is expected that employees will occasionally be running late and sometimes it is unavoidable, regular tardiness requires intervention and action should be taken to protect the company and improve the overall work ethic among the team.  Here are a few ways to handle employee tardiness.

Document the Behavior

If you begin to notice that an employee is late more often than everyone else, it is a good idea to start documenting the tardiness.  These records will serve as evidence when you sit down and speak with the employee.  You will be able to present them with facts rather than just stating your opinion.

Address the Problem Right Away

It is understandable if an employee has a legitimate reason for being late once in a while.  Traffic accidents occur, weather can cause delays, children can get sick, and car troubles exist.  Life happens and unexpected problems can happen causing an employee to be late.  However, excess or repeated tardiness is not acceptable and should be dealt with right away.  When an employee consistently shows up late it will eventually start to make you angry.  That’s why it’s always best to deal with the situation as soon as a pattern starts to arise.

Schedule a Meeting

If you want your employee to change their bad habit then you are going to have to share your concerns with them.  When a team member’s tardiness affects their job, you have to let them know.  Not only does it force coworkers to fill in for them while they are away, but it is disrespectful to you and your company.  All employees are expected to adhere to the rules and it’s not fair to make exceptions for one.  Try not to react in anger, but do let the employee know that you are disappointed in their behavior and you will not tolerate it.  Go over the rules again with the employee to ensure they have a clear understanding and make sure these rules are implemented fairly throughout the entire team.

Devise an Action Plan

Instead of acting in anger and immediately punishing the employee, sit down and try to come up with a plan together.  Your employee’s tardiness could be due to something like a medical condition or family obligations.  In these instances, you might want to make an exception or come up with an alternative work schedule.  You also want to make sure the employee is aware of your tardy procedure.  If the employee is going to be late, who should they report to?

Discuss the Consequences

You should have a policy in place that clearly outlines the consequences for an employee who is frequently tardy.  Occasional tardiness might require the employee to make up the time.  Consistent problems might require harsher consequences such as written warnings, docking pay, decreases bonuses, or even termination.

Acknowledge Improvement

Reinforce positive behavior through praise.  When you notice the employee has altered their behavior and started arriving on time, praise them and thank them for their efforts.  Acknowledgment will let them know you appreciate them and will encourage them to keep up the good work.