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How to Handle that Middle Tennessee Employee Who is Late – AGAIN

My alarm didn’t go off.

I had to stop for gas.

I, uh, locked my keys in the car (yeah, that’s it).

Excuses, excuses.

We’re human.  At one time or another, each of us will be late to work – often due to circumstances beyond our control.  But when lateness becomes habitual, it becomes a real problem for your organization.  Tolerating chronic lateness sends an unspoken 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 Wood Personnel to effectively handle that employee who’s late – AGAIN:

  1. Nip it in the bud.  Pay attention to employees’ arrival times and commit to taking action anytime you see a pattern of lateness.
  2. Document it.  Keep a written or digital record when an employee arrives late – as well as his excuses – every time.  Then, if an employee tries to explain his way out of the situation, you’ll have proof to reinforce your position.
  3. 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.
  4. Take the right stance.  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.
  5. 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.
  6. Involve the employee in 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.
  7. Document the meeting.  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.
  8. 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?

Wood Personnel can help.  As a leading Middle Tennessee 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 have the work ethic needed to thrive in your organization.  Contact Wood today for more information.