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Dear Workforce How Do I Stem Chronic Tardiness

I have to tackle the problem of punctuality in my company. We dock the pay of employees who are more than 15 minutes late, but this method isn’t working. We’re thinking of fining them instead. In exchange, we plan to give staff two 15-minute breaks per day. I personally don’t think this method will work--latecomers will still show up late, and those who arrive early will still come early. But I’m stumped for a better solution. What are we doing wrong? What might we do differently?
September 16, 2005
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Related Topics: Attendance, Dear Workforce
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Dear Steamed:

Tardiness likely is symptomatic of a larger problem: your employees' unwillingness to accept accountability for the success of the business. In reality, this problem is probably much more costly than the tardiness issue alone. Employees who feel accountable for a business' success are less likely to act in ways that reduce productivity and increase costs, such as chronic lateness to work.
Your senior managers appear to be acting like parents trying to persuade recalcitrant children to obey. Tardy employees, like children, don't view themselves as being accountable for the effect their chronic lateness has on the business.
Creating an organizational culture that engenders personal accountability and commitment is no mean feat. Here are a few action items to help you get started:
  1. Educate your core employees all about the business so they understand their impact on its day-to-day success.
  2. Involve employees in important decisions relating to work processes and customer satisfaction.
  3. Teach core workers the skills that are traditionally reserved for managers. This helps them learn to make better decisions and support business objectives.
  4. Identify and eliminate obstacles to employee commitment. These can include giving managers too much status or privilege, micromanaging and restricting employees' access to information.
If you fail to resolve organization culture issues now, expect to find yourself dealing with many costly operational problems like this time and time again. In a culture that enables employee commitment, however, you will find it easier to discuss the business impact of issues like tardiness while engaging employees to create solutions they also implement.
SOURCE: Kevin Herring, president, Ascent Management Consulting, Tucson, Arizona, Nov. 11, 2004.
LEARN MORE: Sample Attendance Policy.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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Dear Workforce Newsletter
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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