Regretfully, there is no feature in our automated timekeeping service that can automate your employees. Dealing with chronically late employees will always be a staple of management. Fortunately, it just so happens that we are not mere technicians who install a product. Human resources is the field where we do business and so we take great professional interest in the scenarios that arise before and after our job is done.
Take this scenario for example. A nursing home facility has a time clock installed at its employee entrance, as well as the entrances to each of its “small homes” or “neighborhoods.” Soon, management realizes that the distance between the employee entrance and those other entrances allows for considerable dawdling and time-wasting. After all, the employee lounge immediately follows the time clock on the employee’s route to his or her respective assignment. The adjustment that ends up solving the problem is a simple one. Employees are now unable to clock in at the employee entrance. Their codes only work now at the clock near their assigned small home, or neighborhood.
We respect the ‘human’ in human resources as much as you do. Thus, we very much understand the intricacies of correcting employee behavior. So, allow us to suggest these seven approaches to getting the chronically late employee to be on time:
- Call it what it is.
There is a reason for the use of the term “chronically late.” Your employees may be parents or students or simply people with full lives. Their chances of being late should be familiar because you are most likely one of them. This makes it easier to identify the sort of lateness that you must act on. At the very least, all of your employees should make the connection between their time and your time and then, between your time and the company’s time. Chronic lateness signals that they either don’t understand this or don’t care. Both must be addressed immediately, especially the latter. This is where even a few minutes with each occurrence add up in dollar signs and become a liability to the company.
- Do not waste time.
It is not unreasonable to expect your employees to respect the fact that you have your own stack of work and onslaught of e-mails to contend with. However, you still need to act and act decisively when it comes to personnel issues. Papers will still be on your desk. E-mails will stay on your computer screen. Chronic lateness will only grow worse. Be proactive. Get ahead of the problem.
- Put it in your own words.
At least in the early stages of the problem, your employees need to hear about their transgressions directly from you. Chances are that employees that disregard company time are doing so because in the mind, they are doing it to the company. Confront them with the idea that they are doing it to you and watch their reaction. If you have done your job well so far, your staff should at least respect you as a fellow human being. It should be considerably harder to disrespect you than it is to disregard a faceless entity.
- Follow-up is everything.
Once you address the matter personally, regardless of whether it has the desired effect, there must be an action to follow up your meeting with the employee. This does not necessarily mean punishment. The personal touch often causes employees to finally reveal bona fide reasons for struggling with getting to work on time. Whether it is a medical issue or family obligation, at least you both now have the opportunity to work out a solution.
- Be respectful of privacy.
Once you’ve gained the trust of an employee, you must respect their privacy in return. It doesn’t necessarily occur in that order, though. The setting of your encounter is what sets the tone. Public confrontation will not win an employee’s trust. A discrete and private sit-down will do that. The employee will be more likely to take note of your listening skills which will inspire trust and potentially better punctuality.
- Consequences must be clear.
If all else fails and an employee must be penalized, the consequences must be clear. Those consequences should already exist in policy form. Possible consequences may include:
- The employee being asked to make up the time.
- The employee is issued a written warning.
- The employee may receive a dock in pay.
- The employee’s bonus may be decreased.
Of course, there is always the worst case scenario, not to be taken lightly. If employee lateness has led to a serious blemish on the company’s reputation or worse, the bottom line or output, dismissal must be considered.
- Improvement may be rewarded.
A hard-nosed employer may immediately think an employee’s obligation is to be on time, thus improvement is unnecessary. That person would not necessarily be wrong in that thinking. However, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging or recognizing one’s efforts. It is only natural that an employee making the effort to re-structure his or her life will only benefit from your encouragement. Your end goal is that employee’s maximum performance. Just imagine the ripple effect your benevolence might have on the rest of your staff.
As noted in the example we share above, even the placement of time clocks and control of data entry can play a role in managing employee performance. To those of us in the business of payroll and automated timekeeping, we aim to be assets to the most successful businesses. Since our devices measure time, it only makes sense that we might have a thing or two to say about punctuality. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact us here.