Employees who are late on a frequent basis can negatively impact productivity, lower employee morale, and affect customer service levels. Not only does it throw day to day operations off, it can set a bad precedent for others. With approximately 16% of workers late for work one or more day a week, it is important to set up a process to deal with employees who are late all the time.

Set up a policy

The first and most important step in dealing with and preventing chronically late employees is creating a comprehensive written policy. All employees should be made aware of the policy and it should be printed somewhere visible if possible. Your business needs will dictate a policy that is right for you, but the following should be considered:

  1. If the employee knows they will be late, which supervisor or manager to report to
  2. Acceptable reasons for being late
  3. Consequences for repeat offenders

late employeesAccurate Timekeeping

One of the most important components for dealing with chronically late employees is a time and attendance system that not only tracks when employees are late, but alerts managers and supervisors so that alternate arrangements can be made. Additionally, it will send exact information to payroll for the time worked, with the late time docked from their pay.

Address Chronically Late Employees Individually

Employees who are persistently late should be given consequences in line with your attendance policy. However, these consequences should give employees a chance to improve and clear their slate. Zero tolerance policies rarely improve matters and are often deemed unfair by most staff members, including employees with excellent attendance.

With these types of recurring problems, sometimes being a bit “flexible” is the best route. Without straying from your attendance policy, consider altering a chronically late employee’s schedule to allow them to make it into work on time. If they struggle to get in on time because of childcare or other outside commitments, adjusting their schedule by 30 minutes where possible will be likely rewarded with higher engagement and lower turnover.

If collecting this information from all staff members sounds like a big headache, consider implementing employee communication portals, where workers can input their ideal start times and availability. Then, workforce management systems can auto populate the schedule for the most efficient schedule and the least likely instances of lateness.