Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Employers: How to Deal with Chronic Tardiness

It’s not easy being an employer, or a manager for that matter. You have a lot to deal with on a regular basis and you have to make sure that your team of employees is working at top speed and potential almost all of the time. Part of that task is making sure you establish a good environment to work in. That can be difficult if you have an insubordinate employee or an employee that simply does not want to conform or be a productive member of the team. This is an obvious breaker of the team, but consistent tardiness among employees can also break the team’s back. For one, it’s unprofessional. Two, if other members of your team take notice and start to think that arriving late is OK, then you have an even bigger problem to deal with. Take a look at some of the tips I’ve provided for dealing with a late employee and get your team back on track.

First thing’s first. Is this person’s lateness really a huge deal? Do they come in late and leave early or on-time? Are they consistently five to 10 minutes late or are they always at least 20 minutes late? These are important questions to answer before you make any decisions. If they are always just five minutes late, is it really that big of a deal? Is punctuality key to the success of your company or your team? If so, then you have to take the next steps. If it’s really not though, then perhaps you should just let it slide and make sure they are working a full 40 hour work week. If they come 10 minutes late, make sure they leave 10 minutes later. If others are starting to see that this person is coming in late and are following suit, then you have to make a move. However, if this employee’s tardiness isn’t truly affecting your work or the success of your team/company and they are a good worker, then think of letting this slide.

If you can’t just let it slide, then the first thing you should do is talk to this person. Before you write them up or start taking action, see why they are consistently late these days. They may have some hard things going on in their personal life that is causing them to be late each morning. Perhaps their commute recently changed and they just can’t seem to get in on-time. I can speak to this last reason. Recently I have been coming to work from farther away. It’s about an extra 30 minutes to my commute and no matter how hard I try I can”t seem to get in at my usual 5-10 minutes early. There is construction on the highway where I am coming from and even if I leave 10 minutes earlier the next day, I still end up being a minute or two, or 5 late. It’s the worst, but I can’t seem to work around it. Therefore, I stay later for as long as I was late. Meaning if I was 10 minutes late, I leave 10 minutes later. Simple. Talking to your employee can make all the difference.

After you talk to them, you have to write them up. Even with great reasons for being late you need to show your employee that consistent tardiness won’t be tolerated. Unless, of course, you worked out a system between the two of you. Otherwise you have to write them up. If their behavior or tardiness doesn’t stop, then you have to write them up again or go to the next person in charge. If you have an HR department, check in with them to see what your next action should be.

If, in the end, their behavior doesn’t change then you will likely have to let this person go. If you were able to work something out between the two if you or switch a schedule around a bit, that’s great. If not and they are still consistently tardy, then they likely don’t care for this position, company or job and you need to get them off your team pronto. Tardiness doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s a matter of professionalism, respect and a genuine care for your job. If you have an employee that is always late, you need to discuss it immediately before it gets out of hand.

Have you ever had an employee that was always tardy? How did you handle it? Are you the tardy employee? Let us know in the comments section or tweet me @nicole_spark.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Friday Puppy

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter