Managing People - Problem Employees
Tardiness

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Tardiness

Many good, hardworking people have a tendency to be habitually late.

Unless being precisely on time is crucially important, don’t bring up the tardiness issue with an employee who is occasionally late. Such employees will appreciate your tacit understanding and they will take it as a sign of your trust in them. Of course, if the employee is a security guard and you are operating a nuclear power plant, any display of tardiness could be serious. Use your judgement!

On the other hand, an employee who is habitually late can have a demoralizing effect on other employees who arrive for work on time. Furthermore, habitual lateness is a infectious disease. Soon many employees may exhibit tardy behavior. Why do some otherwise great, hardworking employees have a problem being on time—well, who knows?

The key question is, where do you draw the line on tardiness? If a person is ten or more minutes late more than five times within a given month, it’s time for a brief chat.

Assuming that the employee’s job performance is satisfactory in all other respects, say something like “Linda, overall I really enjoy having you on our team. I would really appreciate it, however, if you could cut back on your tardiness. I can understand being late on occasion for whatever or even no apparent reason. But enough is enough. Can I count on you for a little improvement in this area?”

Virtually all tardiness problems disappear after a gentle talk. Unless the problem is extremely severe, stick to a very light approach. But sooner or later you will encounter an employee who feels he or she shouldn’t have to work on a schedule. One employee actually told me that she felt “professionals” should be able to come and go within the workplace whenever they pleased. She saw absolutely nothing wrong with arriving two hours late. Well, now she can still come and go whenever she pleases—she just can’t do it at our workplace!

* Source Streetwise Small Business Start-Up

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