Even the best employees on your team have probably been late for work a time or two. People oversleep, have car trouble and hit unexpected traffic jams that keep them from arriving to work on time. As an understanding boss, you know that sometimes life gets in the way of punctuality. However, some people constantly push the limits by showing up late more days that not.
Chronic tardiness is a very serious problem. If you have an employee who is constantly late for work, you need to address the issue before they become a liability. The amount of time you give them to get their act together should depend on both the nature of the situation and your specific company policy on the matter.
4 Tips to Deal with a Chronically Tardy Employee
Acknowledge the Issue Immediately
If an employee is a few minutes late for work one day, you don’t need to make a big deal of it. However, it’s time to speak up as soon as you start to notice a pattern of lateness. If you don’t say anything, they’ll think you don’t care and will continue to show up late — and will likely start to appear progressively later and later in the day.
Dig Deep to Find a Solution
When a usually prompt, reliable person starts coming into the office late each day, there’s often a perfectly good reason for it. Instead of simply assuming the employee is being lazy, take them aside and ask what’s going on. It’s very possible that a personal problem is causing their tardiness. If this is the case, try to work with them to find a solution. For example, it may help to adjust their work hours, so they start and end a half-hour later each day.
Make Consequences Clear
Let the employee know they’ll be punished if they continue to come to work late. Detail the consequences they’ll face for arriving late one more time, two more times and etc. This will hopefully serve as the wakeup call needed to get their act together. There’s not much else you can do if the person continues to break the rules, despite knowing what’s at stake.
Document All Warnings
Keep a detailed record of each warning given to the employee in case HR needs to intervene. Email the person a copy of the account as well, so you’re both on the same page. If you dock the employee’s pay, suspend them or terminate them, you’ll need a clearly defined paper trail to prove you followed company protocol.
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