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Employees Arriving Late – The Escalation Process

Submitted by  on November 2nd, 2010

How would you handle this problem? You are new to HR and working in a small professional services firm. One employee has taken to arriving very late most mornings. This employee does work till late to make up time. However, their lateness is starting to impact the level of morale in the office. You feel you should bring this matter up with the owner of the business to get proper policies in place and to fix up the late arrivals. How should you go about it?

Here is my take on the solution. Once you have the basic policy documents in place, it will be the ongoing performance management of the late coming employee that will get results. Only relying on the written word will not be enough. And that means the manager of this employee actually supervising him or her.

Regarding the hours that an employee is required to work, ensure that the requirements are clear and in writing. They could be stated in the employee’s employment contract, their role description, past performance appraisal goals or in HR policy documents. Wherever it is stated, it should be clearly communicated to the employee and understood by them. That’s the necessary first step.

Next is the performance management of the employee. This employee’s direct manager will need to take the employee aside and explain to them the impact that their behavior is having on their work outputs and on the morale of other employees. The expectation that they will do the required hours needs to be stated clearly, firmly and without emotion.

The first step should be an informal counseling session. If the employee’s behavior does not improve, then take the next step and formally reprimand the employee with a written warning and written performance goals. If the behavior still does not improve, then take steps to terminate the employee. The key here is to escalate the severity of the issue in steps whilst keeping your process transparent. The escalation process in many organizations is more complicated than this, but I think that is a reasonable and effective approach in a nutshell.

What do you think? How would you handle this situation? What insights and experiences can you add?

Check out our employee performance diagnostic flow chart for helping your managers find out why an employee’s performance is below expectations.

Posted in Communication, Performance | Comments (0)

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