WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN EMPLOYEES ARE CONSTANTLY LATE TO WORK?
Dear HR leader, does this not seem very familiar bad dream? Yes, my colleagues late coming to the office is indeed a headache to HR and a perennial worry. In this short article the endeavor is to understand what lateness is, identify the persons & reasons for the same and offer few solutions to combat it without much turbulence.
This is a topic which can be illustrated with examples and the narrative in the Bollywood style; however, for the purpose of serious understanding of this monstrous behavior we will deal with the topic sensibly.
What do you mean by late coming? Very simply put it means any employee who reaches the office later than the stipulated time. Chronic latecomers who become irritants to both their department as well as HR are the species that needs to be tackled with firm but careful hands.
How do you identify personnel reaching late on regular basis? Well, most of the Organizations have attendance system which is closely monitored for several purposes and amongst them coming / punching / swiping in time being a major reason. It is expected that HR would be scrutinizing the same on daily basis and hence data can be captured and stored for future use.
Once such errand personnel are identified the next path becomes to determine the causes, reasons for reaching the office late and that to on constant and regular basis implying that out of 26 working days the employee(s) would have reached the office late on 20 or more days late. Through the journey of identifying and understanding the reasons for the late coming be careful to differentiate between genuine and fake reasons as expressed by the employees. It will be presumed that the employers are smart and alert to know which to believe and reject. Once the category of reasons are well defined, here is two forked steps that can be clearly laid for way forward.
Fake reasons, lame excuses unsubstantiated with facts, casual approach towards discipline and the like the employer has a straight chart to follow:
- First time observed give verbal warning to the employee(s) and impress upon the importance of timely reporting to work. Record the same in the file.
- Repeat offence, write a simple written warning emphasizing the importance of adhering to the office time and adverse effect of late coming on job.
- If it still persists then another written letter to remind forcefully on respecting the office time and work schedules.
- If still continues then final written warning letters with earlier letters references can be given to initiate disciplinary action against the employee.
This will go towards the disciplinary action route for the final deed. Of course, all the HR leaders would like to avoid this unpleasant method. Though it may be required to be carried out, the end result may leave a bad taste in the memory so avoid as much as possible. Perhaps a lot of time may be directed towards counselling such employees in case where the Organizations do not want to hand over harsh and punitive actions. Then remember that it would become a long drawn activity and may yield results or none.
On the other hand, for genuine reasons assess them rationally, reach out to assist / support them by giving various workable options. Before venturing this road, first do determine the timeframe that the employee would require to be granted late coming to the office and then offer suitable options.
Few suggested options for genuine cases could be:
- Provide to them flexi time with proper record for official use.
- Change of job / assignment or department if it can be possible and the employee found fit to do so.
- Employee counselling taking note of the circumstances under which the employee is coming late.
- Change of location if it can help to maintain both the employee and the new position.
- Temporary break from work / sabbatical if it can aid to sort the problem.
- Mentor the troubled employee to re-focus on the job.
- Buddy culture if it can become a way out of the problem.
- Work from home if the job activity permits.
- Take stock of long distance travelling personnel hired for providing different timings without affecting the productivity.
- Job sharing between employees to ensure on time deliverables.
All of us need to understand that reasons can be both at the personal and professional level and only can be best sorted out mutually with proper understanding. There are no quick fix solutions available and one choice may not suit all, hence way forward is to understand both personal and professional reasons for coming out with options to reduce late coming.
Article by GeetaVarma, HR Freelancer, Mumbai. The thoughts shared are personal and not intended to challenge anyone.