What to Do With Employees Who Are Always Late

There is perhaps nothing more frustrating to a small business owner than an employee with a tardiness issue. Co-workers feel the burden of late employees, as well. The late employee can create production problems but also real friction between employees. It’s a burden for everyone—except, it seems, for the chronically late worker. 

Occasional lateness happens. It’s sometimes unavoidable. From traffic to childcare, the workday is filled with complications. But chronic tardiness is something that must be dealt with, or it could grow into a huge issue that affects your company. Here’s how to deal with regularly tardy workers.

Seven Steps to Reduce Tardiness

If you’ve been trying to deal with a chronically late employee, we have seven steps to help you mitigate the problem.

  1. Identifying the behavior as a pattern is the first step toward correcting the chronically late employee. It’s important to realize that being late periodically happens to the best employees. That is normal. But identifying that the employee is showing up late regularly is the real issue to address.  
  1. Be proactive address the issue early. Don’t let the person’s excessive absenteeism cause problems in your business. Make sure you do not let your frustration with the issue drive you to anger. Stay professional and address the issue early.
  1. Address the issues it happens with your employee by verbalizing what being late caused. For example, if the employee is late to a client meeting, take them aside after the meeting and share the effect their tardiness had on the meeting. Did someone have to fill in for the late employee? Did the client have to wait? 
  1. Come up with a plan to address the issue if it is a long-term problem. Do not act in haste; consider what corrective action you need to take. How must leeway do you want to give your worker? Do they have a childcare or family medical issue? Have you ever asked the employee why they’re late so consistently? 
  1. Address the issue privately. All difficult conversations should be conducted in private. Don’t conduct a delicate corrective discussion or even ask personal questions of your employee’s situation in front of other employees.
  1. Define the consequences clearly. If your company lacks HR policies around tardiness, develop them. If you’re warning the employee, document it. Then outline what will happen if the employee continues to be late. Don’t back down from your position; be fair but always follow through. 
  1. Reward improvements quickly. Thank the employee for arriving on time. If you notice the worker is improving, let them know.  

If your best efforts to correct the problem aren’t working, perhaps it’s time to talk to PrideStaff about replacing the worker. We partner with companies like yours to provide them with top talent. Talk to us. We can help.