Time Theft

 Time Theft

Thinking of showing up late or just skipping work today?

Don’t do it. Not only is simply being late for work a form of time theft, but continually, intentionally, showing up late for work, or not showing up for work at all, is a type of counterproductive work behavior (CWB) known as withdrawal. In the context of CWB, tardiness and unexcused absences are a type of ‘withdrawal’ behavior. Withdrawal refers to the avoidance of, or disengagement from, the workplace (Carpenter & Berry, 2014).

According to the Conference Board of Canada, unexcused absences alone cost organizations in Canada over 16 billion dollars a year, while the Associated Land Contractors Association of Colorado reports that tardiness in the USA costs employers approximately $3 billion USD per year as well. Tardiness and unexcused absences are specific types of CWBs that have been linked to low levels of conscientiousness and high levels of neuroticism and extraversion (Conte & Jacobs, 2003).

One way employers try to combat the negative effects of CWB is through hiring employees who are less likely to engage in these types of behavior. How do they do that – you ask? By using pre-employment tests such as covert, personality-based integrity tests to pre-screen potential applicants.

Want to read more about this topic? Download our EGuide Personality Tests for Selection or EGuide Predicting Counterproductive Work Behavior Using Pre-employment Tests. These resources provide information on how to choose a good personality test as well as how companies can use tests to predict poor work behavior.


Carpenter, N. C., & Berry, C. M. (2014). Are counterproductive work behavior and withdrawal empirically distinct? A meta-analytic investigation. Journal of Management, 0149206314544743.

Conte, J. M., & Jacobs, R. R. (2003). Validity evidence linking polychronicity and big five personality dimensions to absence, lateness, and supervisory performance ratings. Human Performance16(2), 107-129.

The Conference Board of Canada: Absent Workers Cost the Canadian Economy Billions

Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado: What’s the cost of being late to work?

Kabir Daljeet

About the Author

Sharon Van Duynhoven

Office Manager

Sharon brings our tests and assessments from the development stage to marketable product. She ensures quality control at every step of a project, edits technical documents and manuals, and artistically enhances reports and resources. She also manages contracts with clients across the globe and answers technical questions.