How to Manage Late Employees: Understanding the 'why' behind your workers' bad habits.

Author:Sugars, Brad

Chances are, as a business owner or manager, you have or will come across an employee who is regularly late. Such chronic tardiness is a key indicator--there will be other bad habits from that employee that can spread to others in the office. Great management takes the right steps to fixing such issues and is crucial to employee development. Franchise systems are fortunate; they have strong networks of managers that have learned and can offer the central elements of managing perpetually late employees.


The first step in handling lateness, or any bad habit, is to confront the employee about the problem. Not addressing the behavior right away allows it to continue. While talking to any staff member, there are good and bad questions to bring up. In a lot of cases, supervisors are not asking good management questions. For example, they may ask, "Why are you late?" This type of question allows for excuses. Rather than setting up the employee with the opportunity to blame an external force, managers should make sure their questions include:

* An emphasis on moving forward: "What needs to happen to ensure you're on time to work?"

* Detail-oriented phrases: "What is the next step to ensuring you're on time to work?"

* A timeline: "What is the next step to ensuring you're on time to work beginning tomorrow?"

By asking these forward-thinking questions, managers can help put their personnel in the mindset of fixing the problem at hand, whether it is tardiness or missing a deadline.

Requiring frequently late team members to create a time log is another winning strategy to get them back on track. This forces employees to look at what they are accomplishing and the time it takes to complete tasks, resulting in an awareness of productivity levels, ultimately encouraging an on-time arrival. Time logs also allow the supervisor to oversee the employee until the bad habits have been resolved. Often, requiring a time log will encourage staff trying to avoid the task to arrive on time and stay on track.

One thing a manager should always avoid when an employee has created a work problem is trying to fix it. If an employee is late and misses an early deadline, the manager should not troubleshoot the issue. This can become problematic, as it does not help the employee learn. Instead, it actually teaches them they do not need to complete their tasks, since their manager will do it for them.


An employee who is consistently tardy might...

To continue reading