Chances are, everyone at your company has been late to work at least a few times — even you. Things like unexpected traffic jams, forgetting to set an alarm and waking up to a sick kid are part of life.

As an understanding employer, you know even the most punctual people have off days now and then. However, there’s a big difference between occasional and habitual lateness.

If you’re dealing with a staffer guilty of the latter, follow these three steps to get their behavior under control, before it has a negative impact on the entire team.

Recognize the Problem

You can’t deal with an employee’s constant lateness if you don’t realize it’s happening. If you’ve heard rumblings among the rest of your staff or otherwise suspect the person might be coming in late on a regular basis, find out for sure by keeping track of their arrival time. You’ll need to have specific instances of lateness documented anyway, in case a conversation does need to happen.

Do this for a week or two, so you can get a well-rounded view of the situation. This should give you the information needed to determine whether or not the person is late for work more often than not.

Confront the Employee

Take action immediately if you realize the person is routinely late to work. Discretely pull them aside for a face-to-face meeting to discuss the issue. If your company has a dedicated HR rep, consider inviting them to attend as well.

Putting the issue out in the open lets the person know you’re aware of their tardiness and won’t stand for this bad behavior any longer. Having this discussion might be uncomfortable, but avoiding it sends the message you don’t mind if they’re always late. Getting to the bottom of the problem will also allow you to understand why they’re late, because they might have a very good reason.

Create a Plan for Improvement

Work with the employee to combat their perpetual lateness. If there’s a good reason they’re having trouble making it to work on time — e.g., caring for a family member — try to find a way to adjust their schedule. Maintain your cool and let the person know you want to help them succeed.

It’s great to be flexible when you can, but maintain control of the situation. Make it clear further tardiness will not be tolerated. Set consequences for continued lateness and follow through with them. Ultimately, you can’t have someone on your team who is unreliable and refuses to follow the same rules as everyone else.

Need a little help finding punctual employees? PrideStaff Northern Kentucky has it covered. Contact us today to fill your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct hire openings with professionals you can count on.

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