One day, one of your employee runs up late to work without any prior notification. When he finally arrives at the office, he simply says that he is stuck in a heavy traffic jam. At another time, an employee apologises for coming late because he has a sudden flat tire on the way to work. If such cases only happens for once or twice in a while, you might think that it is best to tolerate the lateness due to its unavoidable situation. After all, you understand that traffic jam, broken vehicle, or even an accident could happen to everyone unexpectedly. But what should you do when employee starts to come late on regular basis?
Be it ten or thirty minutes, an hour or even more, there is no doubt that every employer will find it annoying when an act of tardiness becomes a kind of habit that happens everyday. It not addressed properly, continuous lateness will lead to more serious issues that affect employee’s performance in the long run. For example, if an employee is persistently coming late, this will shorten their active working hours that might lead to deadlines unmet, schedules ruined, or important meetings missed. Even if their personal performance is not affected, severe lateness might become the root of toxic culture within the organisation.
Owing to this reason, there are two key points you should fix to deal with this issue:
Have a talk with the employee
When you notice certain pattern that indicates consecutive tardiness while the said employee cannot provide clear reasons for this behaviour, you should invite him for a candid conversation to talk about the matter. Before calling him for the talk, you should make sure that you have proper evidence that records his lateness so you can clarify with him directly. Ask their reasons of showing up late at work and
evaluate whether the reasons make sense or it is just an excuse.
If you find the reason trustworthy, such as it turns out that the employee’s child is hospitalised, then you might need to discuss the best arrangement that will not do harm to both the employee and the company. However, if he fails to provide logical and authentic explanations for his lateness, next thing you should is to remind the employee about the agreement in the contract regarding working hours and ask him whether he is still committed to comply with the office rule. It is also a good idea to insert some motivational words about being discipline.
When discussing about lateness, you should also explain why you cannot let this behaviour turn into a daily habit as this will bring negative impacts to his own performance and team.
Do something with the policy
Some companies have a certain rule stating about maximum tolerated lateness in order to encourage a discipline culture. Coming late for twice or thrice a month is usually a proper tolerated number that an employer can accept. If it is more than these numbers, employees should be able to provide hard evidence for his tardiness. Employees must know about this rule so they will not use irrelevant reasons to come late too often. If they fail to do so, they will have to receive a penalty.
At this point, you should make it clear about the penalty as well. Charging late fees, even with small nominal, can be an effective to prevent employees from committing excessive tardiness. Besides salary deduction, issuing a warning letter for fatal lateness is also a good idea to make the employees more disciplinary. While you have punishments for those who break the rule, you should also give rewards for employees who obey it.