Confronting Late Employees
July 17th, 2012
During the month of July, we publish “best of” content. The following article was first published on February 24, 2010. Dear Crucial Skills,
At our organization, we expect our employees to be ready to care for patients at the start of their shift. But I have several employees who are far in the disciplinary path because they consistently “clock-in” a minute or two late. Of course, they would have been on time if “the water main hadn’t broken,” or they “hadn’t been stuck behind a school bus.” These employees feel the policy is punitive, unfair, and intolerant; and they have the empathy of the early arrivers. Help! Needing Discipline
First, let me congratulate you for confronting the problem early and consistently, so that the late arrivers are already “far in the disciplinary path.” The most common mistake we make is to let these kinds of problems slide, and as a result, give our tacit permission for bad behavior. Here are a few tips for confronting your late arrivers: 1. Make sure the rule is clear. If you inherited this problem and your predecessor gave his/her tacit permission to let people come in late, you will want to give “fair warning” before beginning to enforce the policy. You will want to talk to the team, and specifically to the late arrivers, to explain the policy and to let them know that you will be enforcing it. 2. Have the crucial confrontation. You usually don’t notice the first time an employee comes in late; you notice when it’s become a pattern. The key is to have the conversation as soon as you realize someone is consistently coming in late. Describe the gap between what you expect and what you’ve observed, and probe for the cause of the problem. Problems are caused by motivation (the person doesn’t share your priority) or ability (the person is unable or has difficulty complying) or a combination of both. If your employee...
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