Nothing ever goes 100% to plan all of the time, that’s just a fact of life. You may run into a traffic jam due to an accident that’s not your fault in any way, but it still makes you late. If there’s an emergency, such as a child in the family getting injured and needing medical attention, that needs to be attended, no question at all.

However, if you run a business, and you’re experiencing chronic tardiness where your employees always seem to be coming in late, this is different. Constant employee tardiness isn’t a justifiable emergency, there’s something else going, and there are a few of the ways you can address it.

Investigate The Cause

Before anything else, this should always be the first attempt. Dealing directly with employee tardiness without trying to understand why it’s happening is like constantly treating burn wounds while ignoring the fire. There are plenty of reasons why tardiness happens, some of them psychological, some of them related to working or environmental conditions.

If you are experiencing tardiness with one or two workers, that’s likely a sign of a small, contained problem. However, if the tardiness is affecting many workers, that’s a larger problem. If your issues are with the way management or other work-related systems are working, tardiness won’t go away until those issues do.

Reward Promptness

You get better results when you use the carrot, not the stick, as the saying goes. Rather than punishing those that are tardy, reward those that make an effort to show up on time. Studies have already been done that show the effectiveness of positive versus negative reinforcement. One of the biggest takes from rewarding instead of punishing is that, over the long term, positive reinforcement is better at imprinting and retaining behavior. On the other hand, while punishing may prevent bad behavior, once the punishment stops, the bad behavior returns.

Try incentive programs, such as rewards for monthly punctuality. It’s always better to praise or reward good behavior, especially publicly, than to make an example of or punish someone publicly. The results will speak for themselves as people put in more effort to be consistent and reap the rewards.

Use Software

From a purely mechanical perspective, one of the best ways to know and manage tardiness is to know where and when the issue is happening. An employee time clock app is one of the most convenient ways to keep track of when people are clocking in to work. It’s not only more convenient, not requiring the expense of a punch in machine, or cards or time sheets; it’s also more accurate. Thanks to GPS tracking, when someone uses time clock software on a phone, it shows the location, making it much more difficult to clock in fraudulently.

Time clock software is one of the best ways to lay the foundation for any initiative to reduce tardiness thanks to the accuracy of the system. Once you have this in place, it’s a matter of finding the right techniques or incentives to get everyone up to speed and showing up to work on time.