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Late Employees

We had the problem of employees showing up late for many years back when I was managing crews at Lawn Wright.

With 12 crews to get out (over 30 employees) and servicing over 600 clients a week, it was essential to get the guys out the door as early as possible. We had the starting time set to 7 am, but most of the guys would be late. They’d come in at 7:05, 7:15, and sometimes up to 7:45. They had all of the best excuses in the world; their alarm didn’t go off, they slept through it, they had a flat tire, the car wouldn’t start.

Not having your employees there on time is bad for business in many ways. It sets a bad precedent that rules aren’t that important. It creates the mentality that if they can come in late, what other rules do they not have to follow?

Secondly, if your employees can’t understand the importance of time, are they costing you money on jobs by wasting it as well? Time and quality are two of the most important things your customers look at when deciding their satisfaction.

I always like to put the burden back on the employee, so we came up with a little trick. It ended up making everyone happy and not costing us anything. Let me explain.

Tricks of the Trade

I placed a digital clock on my desk and had everyone come over and look at it. I told my employees, “This is the standard for showing up on time here, not your radio, not your atomic clock, not anything else. If you come into my office before this little clock says 6:31 am, I will hand you $3.00 cash. You can take your money and go down to the store and get your coffee. If you come in here after 6:30, you don’t get your morning money.”

You should have seen the difference! People were screeching into the parking lot, running into my office, “Did I make it????!”

How did this not cost us money? Well, if you think about it, $3.00 times 22 employees times five days a week would equal $330 per week or $1,386 per month. However, what you don’t see is that in the past the guys would wander in, punch into the clock, get their stuff ready and then drive out the door. Then they’d make a pit stop at the store on the way to the first job. Now, they arrived early, immediately went down to the store, had their coffee, came back, and punched in.

In addition to that, it was so much easier to arrange the crews and the work when I knew who was here and who wasn’t.

I guess the moral of the story is, “You get what you pay for!”

Many thanks,

Dave Tucker