If you have a worker who’s always late, you need to know how to address tardy employees so you can find a solution for the both of you.

Punctual employees are essential to running a successful business, as even one latecomer can slow operations down for everyone. Most of your team shows up on time — if not early — for each shift, but you don’t really know what to do with the one person who is constantly late.

You’ve considered firing this person more than once, but beyond the tardiness issue, they’re actually an excellent worker. Sometimes being the boss is rough because the obvious decision isn’t always the easiest one. Instead of immediately firing the employee, try to understand the root of their lateness, so the two of you can work together to find a solution. Here are a few ways to address tardy employees.

4 Ways to Address Tardy Employees

Have an honest conversation

Until this point, you’ve pretty much ignored the issue, so it’s time to face it head-on. Take the employee aside for a private conversation to discuss their punctuality issues. Allow them to explain what’s going on, while carefully listening without interrupting. It’s easy to assume the person is just being lazy, but in reality, they’re not getting out of class in time to make it to their shift — even while rushing their fastest.

Propose a resolution

Now that you know the whole story, work with the person to mend the situation. Perhaps they could stop working on days with a scheduling conflict or you could put them on a later shift that won’t interfere with their commitments earlier in the day. If the employee truly wants to stay employed, they’ll be willing to help you find a way to make their schedule work that pleases everyone.

Carefully monitor the situation

When you address tardy employees, keep a close eye on the employee after implementing the new structure. If the person continues to show up late, document each occurrence and issue a warning. Have your HR representative assist with this process — if you have one. Make it clear they’ll be fired if this behavior continues, as you have been extremely flexible with their schedule.

Make a final employment decision

Hopefully knowing their job is at stake will make the employee impressively punctual, but if not, you’ll need to let them go. It’s not fair to your team to allow one person to continuously break the rules. If your staffers think their start time is optional, everyone will begin showing up when they feel like it, and you can’t have that. This further proves the need to address tardy employees early on.