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Upstate SC Employee Management – How to Tackle that Tardy Employee

August 15th, 2013

“Excuse me, but WHY were you late to work?”

  • “The dog ate my keys.”
  • “I don’t have any clean clothes.”
  • “My neighbor’s daughter got gum stuck in her hair, and I had to help her get it out.”

These are just a few of the ridiculously lame excuses we’ve heard.  You’ve probably collected a few gems of your own over the years.

Admittedly, we’re all human.  At one time or another, each of us will run late – often due to circumstances beyond our control.  But when employee lateness becomes chronic, it becomes a real problem for your organization.  Tolerating it sends the implicit message to your staff that the behavior is somehow okay.

And we all know it’s not.

If you address employee tardiness correctly, it’s a relatively simple issue to handle; if ignored, however, it can become a pervasive and complex problem.  So don’t ignore the elephant in the room – use these tips from TRUE Group to effectively handle that employee who’s late – AGAIN:

  1. Don’t wait.  Nip this negative behavior in the bud.  Pay attention to employees’ arrival times and take action anytime you see a pattern of lateness.
  2. Meet in private with the offender.  It may be tempting to address an employee in front of the whole staff, but it’s not the most professional approach.  Schedule a time to meet privately, so the offender is less likely to become defensive.
  3. Take the high road.  Instead of attacking the employee, explain the importance of being on time (i.e., how it contributes to the success of your company).  Tell him how his lateness negatively affects his performance, lowers total productivity and sends the wrong message to the rest of the staff.
  4. Discuss the cause.  Ask the employee about the real reasons he’s late.  If he has legitimate reasons, discuss reasonable ways you could work together to overcome the problem.  One possible option is moving the employee’s hours back a bit.
  5. Make the employee part of the solution.  Ask the employee how he plans to be on time in the future and the behavior changes he needs to make for that to happen.  Agree on a time frame for his return to consistent, on-time arrival.
  6. Document everything.  Keep a written or digital record when an employee arrives late – as well as his excuses – every time.  If a formal warning is required, write it down.  Include details about what you discussed during your meeting.  Require the employee to sign the warning.  This way, if you do need to terminate the employee down the line, you’ll have the written evidence you need.
  7. Learn from the experience.  Write a tardiness policy that outlines what constitutes chronic lateness and the potential penalties for it.  Moving forward, consistently enforce your new policy.

Dealing with chronic lateness in your organization?

TRUE Group can help.  As a leading Greenville employment and recruiting agency, we can quickly replace an employee who’s not living up to your expectations.  We carefully screen and interview each candidate, to ensure they are hard-working, prompt and ready to perform for your company.  Contact TRUE Group for more information.

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