As a business owner, you know that an on-time workforce is an important part of keeping your workplace running smoothly and efficiently.
But as we all know, employees rarely manage to maintain punctuality over their entire career.
According to a recent study from CareerBuilder, one of the most common excuses given for employee lateness is traffic, with half of all workers citing it as their reason for tardiness. Lack of sleep and bad weather are the next most popular excuses on the list.
Nearly one quarter (23 percent) of team members admit to being late at least once a month on average, with 15 percent arriving late to clock in at least once a week. And while arriving a few minutes late every once in a while may not seem like a major issue, keep in mind that absenteeism costs small businesses and enterprises alike billions of dollars each year – lost in productivity, wages, poor quality of goods and services, and excess management time.
Staff members who are constantly running late can cause disruptions to productivity, as well as friction between employees who may be expected to pick up the slack. This can lead to a drop in morale, and may even influence other co-workers to arrive late themselves, especially if they feel that management doesn’t notice, or care.
Bottom line, being able to rely on your team to arrive on time is important. If you’re dealing with a chronically late worker or two, here’s a look at a few things that you can do to help improve employee attendance, and increase the chances of them arriving to work on time, more often.
Clearly Communicate Your Expectations
First, make sure you have clear expectations for on-time attendance, and communicate that to your team. If you expect your workers to arrive at their start time of 8:00 – not 8:05, tell them at the start of their contract and make sure it’s outlined in the company policy. They should also understand they will receive a reprimanding for poor time management, perhaps starting with a verbal warning before escalating into further disciplinary action.
Discuss Tardiness in Private
If you have a chronically late employee, you might need to take some time to discuss their tardiness with them. However, make sure you respect their privacy. Don’t discuss the issue in front of others, or make a public statement by demanding to see them in your office. While it might seem like a good way to curb employee tardiness in your team, it can cause a huge negative impact on a good employee to get chewed out for a small mistake. That tardy employee could quickly become a lost employee, or you may be expected to take the same drastic measures every time an employee is a little late, or face claims of favoritism. There are valid reasons to confront an employee who doesn’t treat punctuality like a big deal, but you have to handle it with care and in private.
Get to the Root of the Problem
Try talking with your worker to see if you can find out what’s causing them to arrive late. Was it a result of one-time oversleeping, or are they experiencing medical issues or personal problems at home? Give them the benefit of the doubt, as there are a lot of factors and unforeseen circumstances that could be throwing off their work-life balance.
For some workers, it may be a simple matter of “I didn’t realize that you noticed.” For others, it may be that they’re unclear about the importance of starting at a specific time. For others, personal issues may be making it difficult to arrive on time.
Develop a Plan
Once you understand the reason for your employee’s late arrival, try to work with them to develop a plan to arrive on time. For instance, if a home situation is keeping them from arriving on time early in the morning, then you might be able to adjust their schedule to allow them to come in at a later time. If appropriate, you may want to consider giving them some flexible in their workday – maybe they can work from home one or two days a week, for example.
For others, leaving the house 10 minutes earlier may be the only steps that are required. No matter what solution you decide on, make sure you work with them to come up with an action plan that will help them to arrive on time.
Reward Positive Actions
Consider rewarding your workers who have excellent attendance rates. Find simple ways to motivate your employees and encourage them to be on time consistently. Incentives can include cash bonuses, gift cards, or extra time off. Also, for employees that were called out for their tardiness, make sure to reward improvements in their arrival times. This will give them positive reinforcement that will make it easier for them to stick with their new habits, and it can boost their morale if they felt sour about being called out.
Finally, don’t wait a few months to see if the problem resolves itself. You should be proactive in correcting your employee’s behavior before it gets out of hand. If you let one employee get away with tardiness, then other employees may feel that they can do the same. Stay on top of your game by putting an end to tardiness as soon as it begins. If your employee has started to arrive late, take some time to talk with them right away to see if you can get to the root of the problem, and find a solution that will work for both of you.
Finally, it’s important to realize that a few words of encouragement can often go a long way towards motivating your employees. Be sure to thank them for their work, praise their performance, and remind them of the value of their work. When your workers feel appreciated, they’ll be more motivated to show up on time, which will help to contribute to a positive and more productive working environment.