What to do when an employee is a no-call, no-show

It happens to the best of us. Our kid gets sick, we get in a small fender bender, or some other unavoidable emergency comes up on the way to work. More than one in four workers admit to being late to work at least once a month.

But what happens when an employee disappears with no word or explanation?

USA Today reports that more employees are “ghosting” interviews, and even current positions, in today’s strong job market. In fact, many businesses report 20 to 50 percent of job applicants and workers are pulling no-shows in some form.
Here are a few tips for how to manage (and prevent) employee no-shows.

5 Ways to Manage (and Prevent) Employee No-Shows

  1. Establish and Enforce a Clear Attendance Policy
    The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that almost 3 percent of an employer’s workforce is absent on any given day. That can lead to lost productivity, lower morale, and extra costs to run the business. A clear attendance policy lets employees know what is and isn’t acceptable and any consequences. It also gives you a playbook for dealing with absences and covering the work that needs to be done. Keep in mind that a policy is only as good as its enforcement. It’s important to train your managers to enforce the policy as the face of the organization.
  2. Give Employees a Say in their Schedule
    Computer programs have taken the pressure off bosses to spend a lot of time scheduling employees. But this software comes at a cost. Taken to the extreme, they can put extra pressure on employees to cover on-call shifts on short notice. Take an honest look at the way you schedule your employees. Make sure it’s easy for employees to request for, and communicate about, time off. Allow them some input into the hours they work. The only thing worse than dealing with a no-show is realizing you were part of the problem in the first place.
  3. Give Employees Plenty of Reasons to Stay
    A no-call or no-show is often the result of a lot of factors that build up over time. For example, more than half of employees say they would quit a job that didn’t provide necessary training. Workers who are unhappy with their manager are four times more likely to look for other jobs. The better you know your employee, the more you can look out for their greater needs. Meet their needs for personal and professional growth and they’ll be less likely to disappear on you.
  4. Ensure Your Employee’s Safety
    No-calls and no-shows are not always a result of negligence or job dissatisfaction. There could be a serious situation that threatens the employee’s safety or health. Do all you can to contact your employee and approach them with the attitude of wanting to help. This will lead to a more constructive conversation even if there was no emergency.
  5. Ask For and Maintain Accurate Documentation
    Your attendance policy should allow you to ask for a doctor’s note. This gives you the flexibility to verify the truth of an employee’s excuse for not showing up. But you also have a responsibility to document your employee discipline. State which specific policies they violated and show that you notified the employee. This can be important down the line if they dispute your record of their performance.

Employee no-shows and no-calls are an unfortunate reality of business in today’s world. Take these steps to protect yourself, and your employees, and you’ll be ready when, not if, they happen.