How To Deal With Employee No-Shows

Employees get sick, have emergencies, or need days off from time to time. That’s expected. What isn’t acceptable is an employee no-show—an instance when the employee doesn’t get prior approval for missing a day off and then simply doesn’t show up and doesn’t call in. In some cases, there’s a good reason, such as a car accident. In most cases, however, a no-show requires attention from business managers or the owner.

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Do You Have a Policy In Place?

The first step is to install a policy within your workforce that outlines the guidelines for missing work. It should address how to request time off, how to use personal days, and how to handle sick days that occur at the last minute. For example, you may request that employees who are sick and unable to come to work provide at least 3 hours of notice prior to their shift. This may give you time to replace them. You may make it a rule that it’s the employee’s responsibility to find a replacement. Whatever your goals are, it’s essential to establish a policy.

Once all employees know what the policy is, and have signed a waiver to that effect, you can hold them accountable for no-shows. Be sure your policy outlines what a no-show is and the consequences of missing work like this. It may even be wise to have an employment attorney look over your policies to ensure they’re legally binding in your state.

Enforce The Policy

One of the most important steps in reining in employees that no-show on a regular basis is to enforce your policy consistently. In some businesses, even one instance of not showing up for work can lead to termination immediately. Your policy may indicate the individual will receive a written warning at the first instance. Whatever your goals are, ensure you enforce them evenly over all employees and management. By doing so, this provides a message that you won’t and can’t tolerate no-shows.

Teach New Employees The Rules

It’s important to ensure new employees get the information necessary to do the job. That includes the rules about no-shows and missing work in general. As an employer, you may wish to host an orientation or initial meeting with each new hire. For example, newcomers may spend an hour or two with the hiring manager or business owner reviewing documentation, work-related rules and policies—including no-shows.

During this initial session, provide employees with information about their options in calling in sick or for days off. Show them how important it is for each employee who is scheduled to be at work on time to serve customers or maintain productivity. Discuss the steps for replacing an employee who may be ill, too. By providing this information, not only do employees know the rules, they understand your reasoning behind them.

How To Handle The Repeat Offender

Your policy should outline how managers handle any instance of a no-show. But what happens when a good worker or your top sales professional doesn’t show up on a regular basis? What happens when your top producer is always late to work? Even if you don’t want to do so, it’s essential to apply your rules to every employee in the same manner. If you don’t keep this level of consistency in place, no employee will take you seriously.

Consider these tips for dealing with repeat offenders.

  • Pull the individual aside for a one-on-one discussion. Talk about the problem. Discuss how being late or not showing up for work affects the other employees and production.

  • Discuss the importance of each employee, even part-time ones, on meeting the needs of the customer. If possible, use examples for that employee, illustrating when the company missed a deadline or an opportunity with a customer as a result of the no-show.

  • Indicate that the employer has the right to terminate the employee, no matter how valuable he or she is, as a result of the missing time.

  • Ask the employee to explain the no-shows. It may be a time scheduling concern or it may be due to a lack of motivation. Ask the employee what his or her long-term goals within the company are. Then create an action plan for minimizing lost time at work and increasing the employee’s ability to advance if he or she meets specific qualifications.

  • Establish specific consequences tied to missing time. Document every instance of the problem. Follow through with the required action you’ve outlined with the employee.

Repeat offenders not only hurt the current schedule, they may lower morale. When one employee is able to skate by and miss work without consequences, others will likely try the same thing.

Improving Work Culture: Why Are People Missing Work?

A final consideration for employers and business owners is to look at why this is happening. Some common reasons include:

  • Poor communication about availability

  • Lack of understanding of the rules

  • Inconsistent enforcement of the rules

  • Problems with scheduling

  • At-home concerns

  • Management- and employee-relation concerns

  • Company not using scheduling software

By learning what’s at the core of the problem, employers can begin to make changes as necessary. A no-show isn’t simply an inconvenience to the employer and managers, but it’s also a human resource issue that often stretches further than most employers realize until they discuss the concerns with the employee. This type of one-on-one consultation can help employees make the right decisions to keep their jobs and help employers get onto the right page for the long-term success of the company.

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How To Deal With Employee No-Shows