Throughout the course of your career as a manager or supervisor, you’ll likely hear a number of excuses for why an employee was not able to complete an assignment, be on time or otherwise do what they were supposed to do. Below are some of the more common excuses and ways to address them:
· “It’s not my job.” This is a common excuse used by employees to get out of doing work. If the assigned task is related to their essential job functions, it is likely to fall under “other duties as assigned” in their job description.
· “Everyone else comes in late.” This excuse falls under the “if everyone jumps off a bridge, does that mean you should too?” explanation.” The focus at this point should be addressing this particular employee’s attendance while letting the employee know that everyone is subject to the same attendance requirements.
· “I didn’t know. I’m new.” This excuse only lasts so long before the newness of it wears off. If you explained the process, policy or procedure during orientation or during the employee’s initial training, then being new to the organization is not an excuse. Additionally, being new should not prevent the employee from asking questions and seeking assistance from others.
· “I have too much work to do.” When confronted with this excuse, ask the employee to provide you with a detailed outline of what tasks he/she is working on and the percentage of time he/she is working on each task. It may be that the employee needs to better manage their time or focus their priorities on value-added tasks. Also, if the employee is exempt from overtime, take note of when the employee arrives and leaves the office and how long he/she is taking for lunch. You should make sure the employee is working the required number of hours per day or week and not taking extended lunches or breaks or coming in late or leaving early.
While some of these excuses may be legitimate, it’s important for a manager and supervisor to hold employees accountable when it comes to performing the essential functions of their job at a meets expectation level.
This article should not be construed as legal advice.