What can you do when employees are constantly late for work?

Aarti Malhotra_Passport size photo

Aarti Malhotra

Freelance Writer 

What can you do when employees are constantly late for work?

In today’s scenario, when greater development focus lies on many factors including leadership and relationship management, managers tend to ignore the root cause of employees arriving late for work, even though they may be high performers.

Managers consider punctuality a virtue that an employee must exhibit, as it is critical to business success. If the employee fails to be punctual, then anunfavourable perception is often set. But, before managers develop any perceptions, they should fairly assess if this behaviour exhibited by the employee is deliberately habitual or if they need to examine and understand his or her circumstances. We need to avoid the mirage and locate the oasis.

You may find it polemic but employees who constantly arrive late to work are not always latecomers by habit. Habitual latecomers who are not concerned with reaching a little (or a lot) late for work are a type in themselves. They need to be micro-managed and coached. The coach needs to understand their psychology, identify root causes, and propose intervention strategies. However, sudden deviations from punctuality could be due to the employee eitherabruptly lacking motivation or developing personal challenges. A manager should have informal discussions with the employee, may be over a cup of coffee, and find out how things are at his or her home and with work. As an example of a personal challenge, managers should not reprimand an employee with a medical condition who is unable to reach office on time due to prescribed medicines. As a solution, managers should collaborate with HR, and provide flexi hours to the employeetill the time he or she recovers from the condition.Another example, a latecomer employee whose long term goals are not met inthe assigned role, should be allowed to explore challengingroles and pursue training in the organization to expand his or her vistas.

By taking time to check in, you give the employee and yourself an opportunity to examine circumstances. While employees may or may not always have a good reason, they will appreciate your giving them the benefit of the doubt, rather than a slap on the wrist.


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