Much of the working world is about meeting expectations. Employees expect to have stable work and decent pay and working conditions. Employers expect employees to arrive to work on time, ready to be productive. Yet, why is it that more and more employees take a lackadaisical stance when it comes to chronic tardiness?

Employee tardiness is more than just an annoying fact of work. It’s costly to businesses, to the tune of thousands of dollars in lost productivity, poor employee morale, and increased stress on other workers.

A major career and job portal conducted a workforce survey in 2015 that indicated attitudes and reasons that tardiness is a real problem across the USA.

In this survey, 7,800 employees and 3,023 hiring managers responded that:

  • 16% of survey employees reported being late to work at least once a week, an increase of 15% from the same conducted the year before
  • 27% of workers arrived late at least once a month, up from 26% from the previous year’s survey
  • Even with the difficult job market and many areas still dealing with above average unemployment, tardiness has increased.

Causes of Employee Tardiness

The most common causes of tardiness, as cited in the above survey, are traffic delays, oversleeping, and poor weather conditions. Other reasons include, lack of childcare, sickness, public transportation delays, and more — the list goes on and on.

Instead of allowing excuses and chronic tardiness to become a regular part of your organization, why not take steps to prevent this from happening as much as possible?

Here is a list of 10 ways to cut back on chronic employee lateness.

1. Write a clear Attendance Policy

Instead of assuming that all employees understand the attendance policy at your company, why not take the time to create a written policy that goes into your employee handbook?

If you need some support with writing this you can reach out to your human resource management company. But don’t stop there. Make sure that you promote and educate your attendance policy to your employees on a regular basis. Any time an employee is late bring the policy to their attention have them read it and agree to it.

2. Include Attendance Guidelines in your Workforce Management System

When choosing a workforce management solution that includes scheduling features, you’ll want to work with the programmers to embed your policy on attendance in the messaging. This can be as simple as a pop-up reminder that the employee has used up all of their sick time and will no longer be accruing paid time off.

Additionally, telephone systems can be equipped with custom messaging that reminds employees of the attendance policy.

3. Document all Employee Attendance well

It is up to you as the employer to keep detailed records of all the employee attendance. This includes documenting absenteeism and tardiness. Have an electronic system for logging whether or not the employee called in to report the absence, the date the absence occurred, and any reason given for the absence.

When you have detailed records for each employee this allows you to have information available if and when you must take disciplinary action against the employee. You can also look for patterns that may occur over the over time such as, coming in late on Monday mornings or leaving early on Fridays.

4. Uncover any Professional Conflicts

Employees are often tardy because of professional conflicts between other jobs, college classes, or family responsibilities. If you are dealing with an employee who has ongoing issues with being late to work, this could be an opportunity to pull the offending employee aside and find out if a shift change needs to occur.

Simply accommodating an employee’s schedule so they can find more balance is all it takes to cut down on tardiness.

5. Improve the Corporate Culture

When there is conflict on a team or an employee does not feel comfortable in his or her job, this can be a reason for frequent tardiness. Employees who dread coming to work are not going to make an effort to get there early.

In fact, they will probably come in exactly on time or late on a regular basis. Take some time to observe the employee and find out if there are particular issues going on that are creating an uncomfortable situation for the employee. Take steps to improve the corporate culture and make things more pleasant for all employees.

6. Provide more Flexibility in Schedules

As mentioned earlier, tardiness can be caused by an employee’s inability to manage his or her schedule well. It can be beneficial to offer flexible scheduling for employees to be able to find more work life balance.

Gather feedback from your current employees and find out if this would be helpful to them and if they can commit to being on time and working through to the end of their shift.

Additionally, consider a more generous paid time off policy that includes a certain amount of days that can be used for any purpose.

7. Open up the Communication

Quality workforce management systems include internal communication tools for gathering information and feedback from employees. Provide it for employees to communicate directly with human resources and immediate supervisors in the case that they must take time off or be late to work.

Some scheduling systems even allow for text messages to be sent to supervisors as soon as an employee knows he or she will be late.

8. Reward for Positive Attendance

When employees are recognized for making an effort to be on time to work every day they should be responsive. Positive attention vs. negative attention goes a lot further. Provide incentives such as cash awards and earned time off for those who have perfect attendance.

9. Make punctuality a Core Corporate Value

Companies that care about running smoothly have values that reflect this. Therefore, your company can create a core value that includes punctuality in all situations. From showing up to work on time to attending meetings, punctuality and timeliness should be strong values tied to the objectives of the company.

10. Report on Attendance to the Team

A little peer pressure can go a long way. This is especially true when it comes to work habits like time management and attendance. Educate all employees of the value and benefit to them of being to work on time. Make it a point to bring up the topic of attendance and tardiness at meetings and share examples of good attendance with the group.

By using the above tips, it’s possible to cut down on employee tardiness and improve the productivity of your workforce.

Written By
Pierce Ivory is the Marketing Director at Advance Systems, a company that provides world-class enterprise workforce software. Involved in digital since 2010, Pierce completed a Master’s degree in digital marketing getting first class honors. He specializes in the field of people operations and HR management for B2B software companies. You can find Pierce on Twitter and Linkedin.

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