5 Ways to Tackle Employee Tardiness

December 8, 2021 | 172 views

5 Ways to Tackle Employee Tardiness
5 Ways to Tackle Employee Tardiness

Any one of us will occasionally be late. Cars won’t start, pipes burst, and kids get sick. However, these situations are exceptions. If your organization has chronically tardy employees, that is a situation that is difficult and potentially very costly. People who are consistently late have difficulty managing their time and develop habits that are difficult to change. Still, managers have to address tardiness consistently and effectively.

Ideally, preventive steps will eliminate tardiness, but it is often necessary to institute punitive actions and rewards for employees who need more guidance.

1. Be a Good Example. If you expect employees to be on time and ready to work, you must do the same.  If you start meetings late or unprepared, your staff will immediately recognize that timeliness is not a priority. Instead, be clear about expectations and model on-time behavior for your employees. When you respect your own time-based expectations, they are more likely to follow suit. So send meeting invitations and reminders, start on time, address key issues first, and do not rehash discussions for later arrivers.

2. Create a Punctuality Policy. Your business depends on workers to be on time and ready for their shift. As part of your business policies, include punctuality expectations and penalties. Some employees will respond to a warning while others will need to lose a shift to correct their ways. And if an employee is unreliable, termination is an option. Outline progressive steps so that employees know and understand how important their timeliness is to the organization.

3. Schedule Employees Efficiently. An employee who is confused by schedules is more likely to be late or absent for a shift. Your staff wants to perform well—they do not want to disappoint their colleagues. Therefore, your scheduling of employees must support your business needs and provide the communication and consistency to do well. Use scheduling software that notifies staff of shifts will help eliminate confusion and inconsistent scheduling practices.  

4. Reward Good Behavior. Most people respond positively to rewards. Of course, workers who are never late would be on time without any kind of incentive, but it is good to recognize and reward employees whose time management is reliable. A reward program also demonstrates how your work culture values punctuality. Incentives could be extra paid time off or a gift card—the reward itself is not important, but the public appreciation for responsible, on-time employees is important.

5. Coach the Coachable. No one wants to terminate and then replace employees, especially highly skilled workers. So always include personal coaching for individuals who need a stronger reminder of your on-time expectations. An open discussion could reveal issues that were not apparent and that are correctable. If needed, it is reasonable to develop an improvement plan for an employee that helps break bad habits and creates more success. Clear documentation will show improvement that can encourage even the biggest offender.

If you don’t hold late employees accountable, it will cause resentment among other staff. As a manager, you can tackle tardiness problems with good modeling, solid scheduling policies, and incentives. With a business culture that values timeliness, employees will respond and modify their habits and reduce tardiness. 

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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