You’ve seen it happen again and again. You get in on time (probably even a little early) and the same handful of people are walking in or showing up for their shifts just a little too late each and every day. Chronically late employees can be a drag on productivity, wreak havoc on an entire schedule, and hurt employee morale. They can also be really, really aggravating. You’re responsible for getting everyone to work on time, but you can’t exactly drive around picking them up to make sure they meet their shift time. What to do? Here are a few tips we’ve used ourselves that might help you out, as well.
Start off the day/shift with a meeting.
Set up a brief morning/shift meeting or check-in that will take place every day. It can be a good way to focus your team for the day or for the shift and will inspire those chronically late employees to get to work on time. After all, looking bad in front of a roomful of co-workers isn’t something most people want to do.
Set productivity goals for the day.
If it works with your type of business and the tasks your employees undertake on a daily basis, consider setting up productivity goals throughout the day. For example, you might ask that a specific duty or a number of tasks be accomplished by a certain time of the morning. With a goal post in mind, your tardy employees might be better focused on getting in the door.
Talk to them.
No, really, it’s that simple. Sit down with your employees who are consistently late for their day or their shift and ask them what’s going on. Offer to help. Show a bit of empathy and demonstrate that you’re willing to work with them to find a solution. Your employee might be hiding a difficulty (late child drop-off, broken-down car, etc.) that you’re not even aware of. Check in with them and see if there isn’t something you can do together to get them into work on time.
Implement an employee time clock.
Businesses don’t necessarily think that they need a timekeeping system, and they rely, in essence, on an honor system when it comes to employee arrivals and departures. Implementing an employee time clock, however, could make a big difference, especially the online variety. And if your business already has timekeeping in place, consider switching to an online version— since an online time clock keeps exact time and doesn’t round off clock-ins or clock-outs, using them might make your employees that much more aware of the time they arrive at work.
Create a demerit system.
Your employees might just not realize that there are any consequences to their tardiness. Make sure that they understand that there are, in fact, consequences. You might try setting up a 3-strike rule (i.e. three late arrivals equals censure.) What that censure would be would have to be up to you and be something that works with your current practices and your business’ ethos. Flip side? Rewarding on-time employees, natch. You might even consider using a moment in your start-of-shift meeting or check-in to publicly thank the employees who consistently arrive on time for their shifts.
So, hopefully some of these will help. Mix and match, experiment, and see what works for you and your business. Do you have some ideas yourself on how to keep employees arriving on time? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear what you think.