Effective strategies to combat employee tardiness and the impact it has on your business.

Companies lose billions a year due to late employees. In fact, a recent survey on how much tardiness costs the American economy looked at the average income and employment rate in each state and combined that data with the results of a survey of 2,750 U.S. workers. Nearly every state economy is affected by tardiness each year:

  • In New York, the average worker is 5.4 minutes late per week – which costs the state more than $700 million each year
  • California and Texas employees cost their states more than $1 billion each year because of lateness
  • Tardy Floridians cost their state more than $650 million each year

Lateness affects business operations, interrupts company workflow and impacts morale, productivity and customer satisfaction. Tasks can’t be started or completed when people are waiting for someone to do their job. Then the work piles up and customers become upset.

When employees are late, others may feel tempted to cover for them. According to the American Payroll Association, It’s estimated that the average employee steals 4 hours and 5 minutes every week, which can cost companies up to 7% of their gross annual payroll. Often, time theft comes in the form of “buddy punching”, which is covering for another worker who is late, or on an extended break.

Chronic lateness, on the other hand, is different. For small-business owners, staff coming in late can have significant time and cost implications, crippling productivity and profitability.

Employees are late for a variety of reasons: from traffic delays and childcare difficulties to physical or mental health issues and lack of sleep. In order to combat the economic impact of workforce tardiness, it’s important to have a game plan to prod chronically late employees towards a more timely direction. It’s equally important to have a reliable and accurate time and attendance solution so that you can measure and adjust that game plan accordingly.

Here are some strategies to help you address chronic lateness:

  • Develop a company policy on lateness to emphasize that punctuality is valued by your company.
  • Monitor attendance. Employees are more likely to come on time when they know that their attendance is monitored. Time clocks encourage punctuality by keeping track of when employees arrive and when they leave.  Time and Attendance Software can be used to evaluate tardiness patterns and help monitor solutions.
  • Schedule a meeting with each chronically late employee to discuss his/her reasons for being late.  Brainstorm possible solutions – from flex times that accommodate traffic patterns to work-from-home days when a childcare challenge pops up. 
  • Develop a plan with specific strategies and goals – and measure it regularly. A time and attendance solution will help you regularly monitor your plan’s effectiveness so that you can make changes as they’re needed.
  • Reward punctuality. For example, employees that come routinely on time (e.g. on-time attendance for five consecutive days) could be entered into a draw for movie passes, given temporary use of a coveted parking spot, or even time off.
  • Set an example and be on time yourself!

One of the most effective tools your company can invest in to track chronic lateness is a Biometric Time Clock in combination with a robust Time and Attendance software solution. By having employees use their unique fingerprint, hand geometry or facial features to clock in or out, you have a virtually foolproof way to track your employees’ attendance accurately.

Your Turn

How many hourly-paid employees does your company employ? How much is lateness and buddy-punching costing your business? How do you deal with employee who are always late? What is holding you back from moving to a more efficient tracking system?

We encourage your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, and if you found this article helpful feel free to share to your networks.

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