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5 Steps For Handling Employees That Always Show Up Late


You make it to work on time every day, as do the majority of your workers. Here are 5 Steps For Handling Employees That Always Show Up Late.

As a small business owner, you can’t afford to waste time waiting around for employees to show up.

You make it to work on time every day, as do the majority of your workers.

For whatever reason, there always seems to be at least one or two employees that are late. Now, you might be a nice boss and let this slide, but that can cause more harm than good. 

You see, if you don’t do anything about the lateness, the employee will think they can keep getting away with it.

Likewise, fellow employees will look at them and think, “why can’t I just come in late as well?”

They won’t bother making an effort to be on time when there are no consequences for being late. 

Clearly, you want to stop this from happening at all costs!

It all revolves around handling late employees and making sure they start coming to work on time.

Here are some steps you can take:

You make it to work on time every day, as do the majority of your workers. Here are 5 Steps For Handling Employees That Always Show Up Late.

First… Find out why they’re late.

What’s the reason for your employee’s lateness?

Seeing as you pay them, you should already have their address on file.

A quick look will tell you if the problem is merely location-based. Perhaps they live a long time away, and they always get stuck in traffic? If they are locally-based, then you have to wonder why they are always late when everyone else makes it on time.

The best course of action is to call them into your office for a private chat. Ask them why they are always late and if there’s anything you can do to help them.

You may discover that they’re having issues at home as they could be a single parent that has to take their kids to work.

In this case, you might be able to help them by letting them come in late, but it means they lose some of their lunch or have to stay later at the end of the day. 

Finding the cause of the lateness can help you understand why the problem exists.

In some cases – like above – you can have sympathy for the employee.

However, there are equally as many instances where there’s no reason for the lateness other than the employee’s poor time management.

Second… Make your employees clock in and out.

Sometimes, employees are late because there’s no reason for them to be on time.

That sounds stupid, but it’s true.

Yes, setting a start time should give them a reason, but it’s more a case of them knowing that you won’t keep track of when they arrive at work.

So, they will happily stroll in ten minutes late every day, aware that there’s no way of tracking this. If you pull it up with them a few days later, they can easily ask for proof and claim they were on time. 

Consequently, finding ways of tracking employee hours will help you reduce lateness at work.

In essence, you need a system where everyone clocks in and out every single day.

It gives people a reason to be on time as they know their hours are being tracked. When people are late, you can see when and by how many minutes.

A lot of small business owners forget about tracking hours, but it really can help to dissuade people from being late.

Third… Outline the consequences of being late.

As mentioned before, people are late because they see no consequences for their actions. Therefore, you can solve this by adding in some consequences. Make people aware of what can happen when they are constantly late. 

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Give them a verbal warning in your office

  • Make them stay behind or catch up on any time wasted on the weekends

  • Add up all their lateness and deduct it from their pay each month

  • Threaten to let them go.

A verbal warning is simply your way of saying, look, if you keep on being late, there will be consequences. Here, you can actually outline the other consequences, such as making them stay behind or deducting money from their wages.

Make sure they know that you are taking this seriously, and unless there’s a legitimate reason for being late, they need to turn up on time.

Making them stay behind or catch up on wasted time can seem a bit petty, but it’s meant to be an inconvenience. You turn up 30 minutes late for work, you stay behind for 30 minutes to catch up.

Nobody wants to do this, which is the exact point; it should stop them from being late. 

Imagine an employee is constantly 20 minutes late every morning. Multiply that by five and they are wasting 100 minutes of working hours per week. Multiply that by four and that’s 400 minutes of working hours per month.

Here, you can tell them that you will be deducting the equivalent of 400 minutes of work from their wages.

It’s unacceptable to be this late as they are costing your company valuable working time. Again, the mere threat of this should be enough to stop people from being late. 

Finally, more people will be on time if they know that constant lateness can lead to them being fired.

Now, this is a massive blow to them as it means they lose a job, but they also have this black mark on their record. When finding new work they have to deal with future employees calling you as a reference, wondering why they stopped working.

You’d then have to admit you let them go for constant tardiness, which could stop them from getting future jobs.

You don’t want to do this, and the employee shouldn’t want it either. So, they should be more inclined to turn up to work on time.

Fourth… Reward positive behaviors.

Actions do need to have consequences, but you don’t want to paint the picture that you’re extremely harsh.

Granted, all of the consequences above will only happen if people are consistently late.

That’s the key here; we’re talking about employees that are late every day with no valid reasons.

Someone can be late now and then, and it’s more acceptable if they phone ahead or email in to explain why. 

Furthermore, you can reward positive behaviors at work. Look at the employees that arrive on time, and reward them with extra perks.

Perhaps they can take an early lunch or maybe they get a little bonus at the end of the year for their promptness.

You want to give people more reasons to come to work on time, but not just because they’re afraid of the consequences.

If they know they will be rewarded down the line, it’s far more likely that your team will actively look to arrive on time and avoid being late.

Fifth… Consider a work-from-home policy.

If the lateness is getting really bad, perhaps you should consider introducing a work from home policy.

In essence, you give people the option to work from home instead of coming to the office.

Some may prefer this, while others will still want to come to work.

It can prevent lateness as some people may be late because of their commute every morning, and this will completely negate that.

They can also get up later than normal as they don’t have to get ready for work.

It might not solve the problem completely, but it could help a lot of workers start working on time.

Closing Thoughts

Lateness is a bigger issue than you think, particularly when you consider the disruptions it causes for your business.

If you keep experiencing repeat lateness from employees, these steps will help you out.

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© Melanie Redd and Hope Ministry, LLC, 2021. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Further, excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Hope Ministry with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

5 Steps For Handling Employees That Always Show Up Late

This article was shared with permission from Hope Ministry, LLC and Melanie Redd.

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