We’ve all been there. That time your alarm mysteriously didn’t go off and you overslept. Or when that unfathomable traffic on third Mainland Bridge held you up. It happens to the best of us. But, there’s another kind of latecomers —those who are not the least bothered about being always late for work.
In some companies, physical presence of the employees in the office is not required. In such cases, a working hour policy is bound to have low compliance. But if otherwise, you need to play a delicate balancing act. If someone is digressing from the agreed code of conduct, it is well within your rights to remind them of what’s expected of them.
As a manager, this may pose a question: How do you deal with these special breed of latecomers without causing a bad impression?
Let the staff know you actually care about when they report for work. In most cases, that’s all it may take. The concerned employee(s) may either be apologetic or truly have something going on in their lives that needs to be sorted out. Either way, they would appreciate your paying attention, and would not have to complain about being watched.
Without going overboard, employees should know from the word ‘go’ that though you care about them, it is not something that would be tolerated. The easiest way to do this, is to be approachable and empathetic. Once your team feels comfortable sharing glimpses of their personal lives with you, they would be more cooperative.
Talk about it
Casual reprimands may not always work with these kind of people. Take time out with the employee and give him/her a chance to explain. While some people may not always have a good excuse, they will appreciate you giving them the benefit of the doubt, rather than just a slap on the wrist.
If the perpetual ‘lateness’ doesn’t affect your company’s output, and deadlines are met, then take the time to determine what the underlying causes for the employee’s lateness are. And just maybe, you can both work to fix those while making it clear what types of tardiness will not be tolerated.
After the discussion (and after every formal discussion), send a summary of the discussion and of the expectations to the concerned person while marking a copy to the concerned HR (at most organizations, the business HR should also be kept in loop for such instances). This should serve as a final, official warning.
If the record of being late is so chronic that it can be characterized as habitual, then documenting discussions with the concerned staff would make them aware of the consequences of continued lateness.
Penalties are in order
After exploring diplomatic approaches, and the problem persists, it’s time to get the employee officially queried. Unpleasant as it might be for both of you, it will get his/her attention, and thankfully, get their alarm clock working well again.
If ‘lateness’ is important to you, then an employee running more than 30 minutes late without calling ahead should be censured by whatever method you deem important. This, however, is likely only useful if you have a time sensitive business (retail/service/technical) where employee lateness can seriously and negatively affect your bottom line.
Did you find these tips helpful? Tell us in the comments!