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How To Promote A Culture Of Punctuality At Work

by Laura McLoughlin

November 29 2018 - The power of punctuality holds exciting possibilities for you and your business.

Not only does it improve productivity, but it can also lead to a healthier relationship between employees and employers.

However, many HR teams find punctuality to be a source of tension and conflict.

In this short post, we'll provide a roadmap on how to leave those days behind you and tap into the true potential of a punctual workforce.

Let's go.

3 Tips For Promoting A Punctual Culture At Work

Preventing problems from arising should always be your preferred action.

Here are three important principles to follow that will improve punctuality in your workplace.

1. Start With Why: Stress The Importance Of Punctuality

As with so many HR issues, often communicating the importance and the 'why' of your company's policies is a crucial step for compliance.

Nobody likes to do something or follow the rules 'just for the sake of it.'

By having open and upfront conversations about why punctuality is so critical, you can help employees 'buy-in' to the rules and add meaning for why they follow them.

Productivity, collaboration and the ability to meet deadlines are all things affected by poor punctuality.

Not to mention the strain put on employee-employer relationships.

Start with these topics.

2. Establish Accountability Through Time-tracking Tools

We identified punctuality as a problem HR Managers all over the world have a hard time dealing with.

After going back to the drawing board and thinking about what solutions we can bring to the table, we developed a range of time-tracking tools designed to improve punctuality.

Implementing such tools can help you keep employees accountable to their work quota, track functionality and flag any potential issues.

Organisations of all sizes, with teams from 5-5000 people, have benefited from such tools and can be integrated seamlessly with your existing systems.

They also provide the much-needed data should you ever need to provide hard evidence.

Computerised time and attendance systems digitally capture employee clock-in/clock-out times and presents the data in an easy to understand way so that HR management teams can keep track of:

  • Anomalies in attendance
  • Employees who frequently arrive late
  • Holidays and other special events in the calendar

Plus all of this can be fed into your payroll system which will help save you even more time.

3. Communicate What's In It For The Employees

Everyone likes to be noticed and rewarded for a 'job-well-done.'

It's easy to turn punctuality from a topic of tension into a positive one.

By rewarding punctual employees, you can start to establish a culture where punctuality is honoured and valued among your team.

Rewards could include being allowed to leave early on a Friday, access to premium office privileges or even a financial incentive.

What do you do if employees are consistently late?

Showing up to work on-time is one of the most fundamental agreements in the employer-employee relationship.

It's based a commitment both parties made to each other when the work contract was signed.

The employee agrees to work a set amount of hours, and the employer agrees to pay them for that time.

Breaking this agreement by being late causes a lot of tension between employees and employers, building up a lack of trust, inconsistency and unreliability.

But here's the thing.

It's important not to jump to conclusions straight away.

There are many valid reasons why an employee may show up to work late, ranging from issues regarding:

  • Health
  • Finances
  • Personal
  • Transportation

Opening the lines of communication with unpunctual employees often brings up problems that you can then assist in providing solutions for.

It also usually provides the all-important understanding and context to the situation that you'd been missing.

Plus, if we look deeper, dismissing an employee for being late is often an excuse to dodge other problems.

If you find yourself using poor punctuality as a reason to remove someone from your team, then there are clearly other issues at the core of what's going on that you need to uncover and address.

Regardless, before taking action, here are the essential questions you need to be asking.

1. Is The Employee Consistently Late For Work?

Showing up 5 minutes late once or twice isn't something worth worrying about.

We all make mistakes and have bad days. A certain level of grace should be applied to these situations.

However, if the behaviour is a habit, then perhaps an informal conversation should be had.

2. Does Their Lateness Persist After Warnings And Discussion?

To keep a good relationship with employees, we have to give them a chance to change/improve.

Therefore, it's important to communicate with employees and eventually take them through your disciplinary procedure if the problem persists before jumping to extreme solutions.

3. Is Our Workplace Punctuality Being Accurately Recorded And Reported? Do our employees have access to this?

By using time-tracking tools, your HR team can actually show employees their punctuality data.

Sometimes seeing it laid out clearly is enough to help employees realise there is room for improvement and that they can strive to be more punctual.

Plus having this recorded will keep you in good standing should you need to take the issue any further.

Clocking Out...

We hope you found these tips useful and that they help you start a healthy discussion about punctuality among your HR team and employees that will lead to a change in your company culture.

With some creativity, the right tools and clear communication, it's possible to involve your team and get them passionate about showing up on time, rather than dreading running late.

If you have any more ideas or suggestions you'd like to share with us, we'd love to hear from you.

About the author

Laura McLoughlin has previous experience as a website editor and content creator. She now works with Stanley Security and is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


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