General Question

espanyol's avatar

How Can I reward those who come early to work?

Asked by espanyol (169points) July 1st, 2010

Being early at work is one of the man pillars of a good organized company, ive been promoted to production manager and i discovered that half of my 25 employees usually come after 11 a.m., so i was thinking, what rewarding tools can i use to convince them to come early?

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59 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Are you asking them to come in early, or to not come in late? Usually if employees are late, there is some sort of disciplinary action taken (the first time it may just be a raised eyebrow, but lots of companies have a policy along the lines of “3 in a year and you get your first warning, 4 is your second warning, 5 results in dismissal.”)

espanyol's avatar

thanks papayalily, the issue is that we are a creative production business, and usually artists argue that they cant work in a restricted ambiance, where they cant be free to come and go as they want without any restrictions, for them , creativity = freedom

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@espanyol So is the issue that you only want the building to be open certain hours? The work isn’t getting done? Is there an tangible problem at the moment or are you just worried that without more structure the company will fail?

partyparty's avatar

Why not have a ‘signing in’ book, where they can come and go as they please, BUT they must work for X-number of hours per week. Stipulate core hours – say 10am-4pm.
Happy employer, happy employees. A win-win situation.

Pandora's avatar

Depending how early you are asking them to come, you can total their time and give some of them the opportunity to have an extra day off during the month. Or the chance to leave earlier.
I could always see being about 10 minutes early to work everyday. But anything pushing 15 minutes a day without being paid for the time or let off in equal time is just company greediness. If you need me 8hrs and 15 minutes a day than pay me that. Especially if you are a company that often requires me to stay longer than my 8 hours an doesn’t pay me for the extra time.
My last job often required me to stay an extra 2 hours here or there during the week. I never got paid for that time so I simply never came in early. I was merely always on time. I was hourly not salary.
When it did push 2 hours or more a week my boss would give me off for half a day with pay.
Only it never did equal the actual time. I would average any where from 4 to 6 extra hours every 2 weeks and only get a half a day if the boss didn’t want time off her self. There was always time for her to take off and she was salary.

espanyol's avatar

All what you have mentioned has been implemented but the production rate is decreasing everytime we are more flexible, employees now can come at anytime, but they dont meet each other, so the work tasks will not flow as required, and as always the project will not be on time due to miss communication. We also punish many of them by cutting down the monthly salary for being late, but they didnt care, they consider that being relax is more important than money!!!!! Artists, designers, and all those involved in creativity need creative methods to persuade them, but I cant find those methods!!

mrentropy's avatar

Artists? Bring in Starbucks coffee, croissants, Brie, and what not when you get to work. When 9am comes around dump the leftovers in the bin and make sure it’s noticeable to the people who stroll in at 11am.

janbb's avatar

I think with flex-time, the idea as suggested above of a core time duruing the day when everyone is required to be there is crucial. @partyparty suggested 10–4 which seems like a pretty reasonable compromise, even for creative types. There are carrots, but there are also sticks and maybe your company needs a little more discipline.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I managed a white collar group for quite a while in my first job and they worked liked dogs for me. The first thing I did was protected them. They knew I had their backs covered. The second was they were free to do their job however they wanted to, as long as the job got done. I never had to discipline one of them.

espanyol's avatar

Discipline in this kind of profession is not easy, specially when im sure that the guys i have are the most talented ones in the region, tough management is not positive with artist, they will got depressed and never do the work as I want. Creative people like creative rewards. but in general, i think that mr. @partypary stated the most practical answer.

marinelife's avatar

Set project or team meetings for an earlier time. Give the employees plenty of written notice.

You may have to fire someone.

Coloma's avatar

The employment mandates…..so glad I am self employed and march to the tune of my own drummer.

This creative is her own boss. lol

gorillapaws's avatar

One way is to get them to compete. The top 5 with the best punctuality get to have a gallery of their work on display. Tap into their inherent pride in their creations and the artistic desire to show off what they’ve made. I also think the core hours of 10–4 makes a lot of sense.

CMaz's avatar

“what rewarding tools can i use to convince them to come early?”
The reward for work is pay. If they come in early, they should get paid for that additional time.

Other things, that should already be in play. Is positive reinforcement and recognition for good work.

stratman37's avatar

fire the people who come in late.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

There are huge differences in managing blue collar, white collar, and artists.

gemiwing's avatar

It sounds to me like there is a communication problem at work, not just a time clock issue. Getting creative people, who are usually solitary workers, to communicate takes certain tricks.

Create a space that’s a communication center. Email is fine for thinkers- we creatives go all softie for a whiteboard. Make a physical space with a whiteboard, colored markers so people can leave notes for others. They can leave them in cartoon form or what have you- it will draw them in and encourage them to communicate.

Give the person who communicates the ‘best’ that week a prize. A gift certificate to a local art supply store, for example.

Ask them what they’d like in their communication area. Give them the opportunity to tell you what will work for them.

Pro-tip: put the communication area near the coffee/sodas/red bulls.

CMaz's avatar

“There are huge differences in managing blue collar, white collar, and artists.”
I don’t necessarily agree with that. :-)

Accountability for the product needed to be produced, apply to any type of worker. It all starts with Step A ending with step Z.
With the exception of having to dance around a union.

“Artist” is the only red flag, thinking they need some sort of special handling, being the “artist” that they are.
That is corrected the moment they are hired and walk through the door. Understanding from day one what is expected of them.
They either walk in the door understanding what they have to do or they don’t. Or another candidate is called in.
No one is irreplaceable and no one is perfect.

“Prima donnas”, no matter how good they are should never “bully” themselves into the driving seat.

The bottom line is ALWAYS the bottom line. After that it becomes a personal issue (and your accountability) as to how you want to be all sweet to your employees.

Brought to you by AT&T.

john65pennington's avatar

The world is controlled by rules and regulations and yes….......the clock. i was a writer for a commercial newspaper. my “ideas” for a new ad were just as good, by being on the clock, as they were if i had been a roamer. your workers appear to have banned together and decided to take advantage of you. to come and go as they please. this is not organization, its a ploy for their benefit, not yours. you are the boss…....set the guidlines and stick to it.

You are approaching this situation from the wrong direction. a reward is for a job well done, not for arriving at work…..whenever they feel like it.

BluRhino's avatar

If they are not required to be early, and they do so of their own accord (and are not compensated monetarily or otherwise), then a simple “thank you” or notice of their selflessness should suffice. Most people simply want to be noticed and appreciated. Please avoid all the mind games, bribery, ‘punitive’ approaches and the like. It is demeaning and insulting. Attempts to coerce people into any course of behavior will result in begrudging compliance at best, resentment at worst.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I have to say I, respectively, disagree with you bigtime ChazMaz. If you want to get the max out of your employees, you have to recognize the differences in how they think and operate. That being said, I worked for a small organization. That might not work at all in a large organization.

wundayatta's avatar

What is your goal? Why do you want them to come in early? Are they getting their work done?

espanyol's avatar

I want to achieve 3 goals: Complete projects before deadline + More Communication + Better Work environment (not repressive)

Nullo's avatar

Supply breakfast. Food-breakfast, not just donuts.

joemat's avatar

Allocate a fund out of which you-the boss pay a punctual allowance for the early birds.If your employees consistently come on time each day in a month you pay the allowance.

CMaz's avatar

“you have to recognize the differences in how they think and operate.”
I totally agree. :-)

You put them in a position, using that thinking and operating value, to its best advantage. Still comes down to round peg in round hole.
Recognition and respect is always part of any human interaction. Epically where a result is needed. That goes for any employee type.

If you feel you need to give one employee type special treatment over another in order to get them to do their job. If they need their ego stroked in order to get their job done and it works for you, that is ok.
Some people are just more easily pushed into submission then others.

Nothing wrong with tossing a bone now and then. We all do it. As long as you know you are doing just that.

Otherwise, it is still manipulation.
Having no place in business where productivity is of primary concern. Be it two employees or 200.
Bonuses or perks for a job well done is another story. :-)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ChazMaz Very well said. I agree 100 percent. I did not believe in “special” treatment, just fair treatment. OP, if these answers don’t help, the problem may not be with the employees.

wundayatta's avatar

Put it to them—how can we complete projects before deadline, improve communication + create a better work environment?

You’ll need to define those last two terms a bit more specifically. Work together on solving this problem. They’ll own it a little more and work a little hard to achieve it.

Oh yeah, before you even start, show them the reasons why this is important. If it’s related to the bottom line, it never hurts to offer profit-sharing. Then they have a financial stake. Nothing better than that to motivate them.

gorillapaws's avatar

Research is beginning to show that money is actually a poor motivator for non-mechanical tasks that involve higher thinking.

The Upside of Irrationality is a great read that spends a fair amount of time discussing research which concluded that bonuses don’t help productivity in tasks that involve thinking.

Also this TED talk by Dan Pink goes into how to motivate creative employees. It is well worth watching.

wundayatta's avatar

Maybe money doesn’t motivate them, but it can keep them from leaving. The other thing that can keep them from leaving is time. They need their own time.

I am resentful when I don’t feel I’m paid properly. I am less motivated to work. I’m also less motivated when bored. I spend my time doing interesting things that aren’t necessarily the things the boss wants me to do.

I’d have to see the research about money and motivation to see if I think it shows what it’s said to show. I’ll bet they’re missing something. In any case, we aren’t talking about productivity. We are talking about time.

I’ll bet money is pretty important in getting someone to spend more hours in the office (not necessarily doing anything useful, but definitely more hours). Of course, if the goal is improved productivity, I wouldn’t focus on time in the office. I’d find some way to make the job more interesting. If they are excited, they’ll be more interested in spending more time. As long as they don’t feel cheated on the money side.

drClaw's avatar

Set open close time ranges. I work in the same industry and if you fire people and start making strict time lines you probably won’t see an increase in production. What you should do however is say you are free to come in anytime between 8–10 and leave between 5–7 (assuming an eight hour day w/ 1 hour lunch). If they have problems always working from their desks then let them work at home/coffee shop etc, but require them to login via VPN so you can double check that they aren’t taking advantage.

Bottom line is they are lucky to have a steady design job at all and they should be producing as long as what you are asking of them isn’t unrealistic. Just don’t come down too hard on them.

MissA's avatar

Firstly, they have been allowed to have a virtual playpen and now you want to take that away. So, it may take a while to change their habits, no matter what you do.

I’ve read the above posts and it’s easy to see that many of you think that it’s a matter of egos and artists not wanting to comply for one reason or another.

Let me also say that it matters what is being created. I had a small to mid-sized newspaper, 35–40,000 circulation, and the creativity needed there is not the same as creative work at an ad agency or as a creative writer. Writers at a newpaper generally are putting facts together. Creative work for newspaper ads is entirely different from ad agencies.

Creative juices are not influenced by donuts. And, I’m also sure that many of you find it difficult to believe that creativity is not necessarily sparked by money. Creative juices may be influenced by atmosphere. Speaking for myself, I cannot appropriate set times for myself to enter my studio and create. Having said that though, it’s easy to get into a creative mode in there because the atmosphere is conducive to creativity. It’s one of my favorite places in the world.

Make the space your employees work in, somewhere they ‘want’ to be all the time. Donuts will give them a quick sugar high then they’ll fall into a slump. Exactly what you don’t want.

Make sure they have all the tools they need…the best. And, find something of each employee’s personality and incorporate into their space. It’s more of a sense of belonging.,,wanting to create because you’ve created a space wherein they can’t resist doing so.

Bless your heart for reaching out for help on this one…it’s good that you have an open heart. I know that it’s your job, but I feel you willing to put more than hours into it.

Good luck.

gorillapaws's avatar

@wundayatta The sources I linked, do mention that you need to pay workers well, but the if-then rewards bonusing performance are ineffective in theses circumstances.

wundayatta's avatar

@gorillapaws Makes more sense to me.

There must be something more to creative work, though, or else I’d be doing that kind of work. Some kind of willingness to deal with stress and meet deadlines. I hate that kind of pressure. It eats me up.

gorillapaws's avatar

@wundayatta if you watch the Dan Pink video, you’ll see what motivates people. Basically,he believes it’s:
“Autonomy: The urge to direct our own lives.
Mastery: The desire to get better at something that matters.
Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.”

betterdays's avatar

My husband recently bought out his parents portion of the family business. Then he asked me to take over his mom’s job of running the office. I soon learned just how unhappy the employees were with how things had been run by mostly his mom. She ruled the company and employees with an iron fist. First off, I established an employee handbook which detailed in length exactly what the company expected from the employees and what the employees should expect from the company. This helped to establish ground rules and has came in handy in a few instances with unemployment claims. Then we began to show the employees just how much we appreciated them. We became more flexible with days that they needed off which they appreciated. Then when we had to complete our quarterly training, instead of just having the training session, we had lunch catered and combined both lunch and training (let them choose the menu too). The employee restrooms were updated, parking lots were maintained better, and a system for supplies was put into place to ensure that they did not run out. When working late, many times I have ran and bought supper for the employees so they could keep on working in order to complete their job.

So what I’m basically suggesting is to be flexible (to a point) with their time, establish your goals with your projects, and make their working environment a place where they want to be rather than somewhere where they have to be. A “thanks” for a great job which is said sincerely goes a long way too. Remember, it’s hard to be a boss and sometimes you have to let employees go who do not work to your expectations. Good luck!

espanyol's avatar

thanks @MissA , i really appreciate your understanding and the way you describe it, it is as true as expressive. The atmosphere plays a big role as the system must be flexible, and the idea of linking them to the place by perceiving their personality is a gr8 idea even it needs a lot of “psychological” analysis.

perspicacious's avatar

Coming in early shouldn’t really be rewarded. It is, in essence, penalizing those who simply arrive on time. You may find management 101 helpful.

Scooby's avatar

Maybe you need new employees!? :-/
Creative peoples minds work 24/7, their creativity is not restricted to mid morning, I think they’re pulling your leg…. ;-)

Cruiser's avatar

Set goals and reward them for their participation in meeting these goals. I would also start the day early at the time best suited for your ideal situation and make that mandatory. You are right money is not a true motivator, recognition is one of the biggest motivator in any industry. Recognition for meeting these goals and putting in the time when the team needs them the most will be a good motivator. This recognition could be awards, cash or otherwise, perhaps a ½ a day or full day off for that employee of the month.

Ultimately the reward of having a job should be enough of a motivator in this economy and employees need to be reminded of that fact.

partyparty's avatar

@Cruiser Equally without the employees there wouldn’t be employers. Two way traffic in my book.

thekoukoureport's avatar

Goshh economy thanks for employing me at an ever decreasing salary. I’m so grateful that my blood sweat and tears can be used to increase the massive bonuses of my board of directors. Thanks for allowing me to do work longer hours with invreased responsibilities now that you have decreased the labor force here. It has always been my dream to be the most efficient and loyal servant uh I mean employee in the world and I only hope i have helped your daughter get on the MTV show my super sweet 16. Oh and thanks for the pizza that one time pepperoni is my favorite.

Thanks for reminding me cruiser I wouldn’t want to piss off the economy.

Cruiser's avatar

@partyparty So true…but today I could replace all 9 of my employees in 9 phone calls for ½ the cost of my current payroll! But we are family here and they are more valuable to me than an occasional I got stuck by the train or I had to drive my kid to school. Yes it is not always a simple cut and dried situation.

CMaz's avatar

Family is a whole other thing. :-)

Cruiser's avatar

@ChazMaz I should have clarified these are not blood family but after 14 years together we are as important to each other as our own families are.

CMaz's avatar

15 years together. That is family just the same.

The dynamics change when you have long term employees on staff.

KhiaKarma's avatar

My brother in law has a pretty good deal at his work which allows him flexibility and yet the complany structure. Everyone has to be at work from the hours of 10–2, however they can choose to come in early at 6 and leave at 2 or they can come at 10 and leave at 6. I guess you could play with the hours to make it suit your needs….

MissA's avatar

@espanyol I’m so glad that you understand where I’m coming from. I keep reading posts about ways to get your employees to work certain hours and it’s truly more than that. If they showed up at exactly 8–5 but gave you nothing truly creative…what would you have? 100 percent of nothing is nothing.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Profit-sharing plans and systematic recognition for early completion of projects, extraordinary collaboration (which requires good communication) and a work environment that makes employee feel valued and respected will go a long way towards achieving your goals. A flexible day with core-work hours (mentioned above) will fit in well with these suggestions.

YARNLADY's avatar

I once worked for a company that provided free breakfast for everyone who showed up in time for it, and they also had an exercise/work out room, with shower, for those who wanted to come early. As far as I remember, every worker took advantage of the free breakfast, and most used the work out room, complete with personal trainer.

philosopher's avatar

I was always early at every job I have done.
Coming in early aloud me time to catch up on paper work and Computer work.
When I worked for a large publishing company I was always in by eight AM.
Most of the staff did not show up till eleven AM.
By boss new because she often came in early too.
People had the audacity to comet when I left at five.
I would have stay longer at that job if she so much as verbally praised me for coming in on time.
I left because I received no recognition for being on time or; the numerous complements my bosses received from the customers I helped.
Everyone new customers preferred me. I was always available during normal business hours. I was always polite and helpful.
What you can do is make sure you acknowledge those who are in on time. Not just financially but verbally as well.
All people respond well to positive reinforcement. In other words praise makes people feel good and motivates to work harder.

MissA's avatar

@philosopher Your comments are well taken. But, it is surprising that your spelling is so atrocious with you having been in the publishing field. I hope you are somewhere where your attributes are appreciated now.

anartist's avatar

@mrentropy has a great idea except for throwing the stuff away. Early birds get worms.
Or maybe early is not the issue but connecting with others is. Make meeting times mandatory, and serve good food. Or look at ways all can meet without being there. Set up people to work from home and have video conferencing.

If your company has the kind of budget, whether it is earliness or coordination that is an issue, give a creative reward—say freedom to within reason redecorate their office—or a reward to the whole group if they tighten up like a spa/yoga/something retreat or fitting up a gym and having classes or workout times available.

I would adore to work at your organization. I am a creative type. Now I am not a morning person, never have been.

And even though most of my jobs were government for 20+ years I pushed the envelope on showing up in the morning [actually as did the entire design department at one institution and our boss would chastise us all once a year including himself] —but I always gave what was due and more, staying way late and even during one major crunch overnight.

Are you sure early is the issue, and not coordination for team efforts?
It might be easier to approach it as a coordination problem.

talljasperman's avatar

have a few free muffins for those who come in on time…after a certain point the race for muffins will encourage attendence

partyparty's avatar

@Cruiser Yes I agree. Loyal staff are irreplaceable.
Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know

anartist's avatar

@Cruiser There’s recognition and recognition. No creative type would give a damn about recognition for punctuality. For creative achievement, yes. “Recognition” for punctuality is so dull it would be embarrassing.
I went to a summer camp that awarded “beads” for everything from going on a mountain hike to winning a swim event to making a particularly nice craft item. They also had beads for not losing anything and being on time for everything. I never won either of those and never cared.

@espanyol I’m intrigued, what kind of business do you have? Web Design? landscape architect?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

When you hire people, you are renting their creative ability to be applied to projects. The expectation with salaried people is that you do work some overtime, but their compensation should reflect that.

First of all, you have to look at the flow of the work. Before you fix it, you have to understand why they’re coming in late. Do not assume that you know why. You have to fix the real problem, or you will just create new ones. Are people coming in at 11 am because they’re at the office until midnight in order to meet deadlines for the next morning? Is your team meeting deadlines, doing quality work, staying on top of things? If they are, don’t mess with it. If they are required to come in at 8:30, will they get less done because they will be less willing to work overtime, and you will have to hire more staff? Will key talent quit because the day will seem longer? There’s a trend towards flex time in the workplace in order to attract and keep talent.

Secondly, if you team is routinely working more than a 40 hour week, and you require them to be there at 8:30 am, they will not continue to stay until midnight to meet deadlines; they will leave on time, because everyone else in the office does. When I worked in an ad agency as a production manager, the bulk of the work came into the department at 4:00 or later, and the portion of it that was changes was expected to be completed the next day.

There are things that you can do to get people in a little earlier. First, if they’re coming in at 11 am, schedule your weekly team meeting at 10 am. Schedule your weekly 1 +1’s with individual team members at 9:00 am on separate days so you have time with them, and so to the rest of the company, your team has better visibility.

Part of your job is to both manage expectations of management, and meet the work needs of your team. Just because some guy who comes in at 8 and leaves at 4:30 complains that your staff isn’t there in the morning when he is, isn’t reason to rock the boat. On the other hand, your people should not be consistently missing morning meetings with the rest of the company because they come in late. Somewhere there is balance in all this that allows for the work to get done.

ericnueman's avatar

Give them more vacation time!

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