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Employees Coming in Late

Shop Management

Bob Cooper

by Bob Cooper , President

By Bob Cooper

“Use my Three Strikes program with any employee behavior that needs to change, and you have my promise! You will be amazed at the results!”

When you start to see a pattern in behavioral issues; such as a tech, manager or service advisor coming in late, here are the things you need to consider: 1) If you don’t nip it in the bud it will get worse. 2) Employees need to be responsible for their own behavior. 3) They need to know why you have specific policies in place. So the next time an employee starts to develop a pattern of bad behavior, such as coming in late, call them into a private environment and ask them why they were late. When they have given you their explanation, say something like this…

“Mike, I realize you’ve been late four times now this month, and let me tell you what my concerns are. First of all, if you’re not here at 7:30am, the first thought that goes through my mind is that you or someone in your family might be sick or injured, and you might need my help. My second thought is that your car may have broken down, or you may have been in an accident, and I start to wonder if I should send Larry or Frank out to look for you. To complicate things even further, when you’re not here on time, and I’m standing at the service counter, I don’t know what to tell customers who ask me if their car’s going to be ready that day. And then there’s one other thing, Mike. I just can’t find it in myself to expect everyone else here at Elite Auto Service to be here on time when you’re not. Now I know old habits are hard to break, so here’s what I’m going to do. The next time you’re late, I’ll ask you why, but it really isn’t going to matter because that one’s going to be on me. The second time you’re late, again I’ll ask you why, and that one’s going to be on me as well. But then if you’re late a third time, for whatever reason, it’s going to be a difficult day for me, Mike, because what I’ll do is call you into my office, and I’m going to give you your final paycheck. Mike, I want to be clear with you. I think the world of you, and I would love to be able to work with you for the rest of my life. You’re a star, you really are, and I don’t want to see our relationship end, so please don’t put me in a position whereas I have to let you go. Do we have an understanding, Mike?”

Now here’s why this is such an easy-to-use and powerful way to solve behavior problems. First of all, many employees will think, “Gee, what’s a few minutes?” They’ll tell themselves they often work through breaks, stay late, etc., so you can see how easy it is for them to think you’re not only nit-picking, but you’re being quite unfair. That’s why it’s critically important that you let them know it’s not the couple of minutes that you’re concerned about; rather, it’s their well-being, your customers and your other employees that you are concerned about.

I have also discovered over the years that the keepers will typically apologize, and the behavior issue goes away. The people that won’t be with you very long will typically do one of two things. They either ask you “What period of time are you talking about” for the three strikes, (which tells us they already imagine they’ll be late), or they’ll make a point to show up each day just minutes before the time they’re suppose to be at work. Now here’s the best part! This Three Strikes system takes away all of the excuses and makes the employee responsible for his or her own behavior. Just remember, when you make a promise, you have to keep it, so be ready to hand that employee their final paycheck if the behavior continues.


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