5 Ways to Handle Employee No-Call, No-Shows

A no-call, no-show is an instance when an employee doesn’t get prior approval for missing a day off and then simply doesn’t show up or call in. In some cases, there’s a good excuse, such as a car accident. However, in most cases, a no-show requires attention from leadership.

If you find yourself frequently dealing with this situation, use these steps to develop an effective no-call, no-show policy:

1. Get a no-call, no-show policy in place

Install a policy within your employee handbook that outlines the guidelines for missing work. It should address all absence-related questions like:

  • How to request time off
  • How to use personal days
  • How to handle last-minute sick days
  • If documentation (a signed note) is required
  • How to communicate with other team members to fill your shift
  • Consequences for no-call, no-shows

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-call, no-show is and the ramifications of missing work like this.

Tip: It may even be wise to have an employment attorney look over your policies to ensure they’re legally binding in your state.

2. Enforce the policy

Once you create your policy, you must enforce it consistently and treat all employees equally.

In some businesses, a zero tolerance policy is upheld, where one instance of not showing up for work can lead to termination immediately. Others may implement a “3-strike” process, where employees receive a written warning for not showing up to work at the first instance.

Consider these tips when enforcing policy rules:

  • 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, full-time or part-time, on meeting the needs of the customer.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Whatever your goals are, ensure you enforce them evenly over all employees and management. Doing so sends a message that you won’t tolerate employees not reporting to work and no-call absences.

3. Improve your scheduling practices

Many employee scheduling apps now offer an easy and clear way for people to request time off, and more importantly, give them the power to fill their own shifts.

Flexibility in the workplace is a huge bonus for employees, so make it as easy as possible for them to take ownership and find a replacement if need be.

You can also implement an on-call list, which includes a list of people who have opted in to pick up extra hours.

Note: Make sure to include stipulations in your no-call, no-show policy around your software. For instance, if employees seek their own replacements, you can ask that these requests be sent to managers for approval.

4. Teach new employees the rules

It’s important to ensure new employees are informed right away about your work attendance and absences policy.

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 reviewing documentation and work-related policies—including no-shows.

During this initial session, you should:

  • Provide employees with information about their options for calling in sick or for days off.
  • Show them how important it is for each scheduled employee to be at work on time to serve customers or maintain productivity.
  • Discuss the steps for replacing an employee who may be ill.

By providing this information, not only will new employees know the rules, but they’ll understand your reasoning behind them. This may give them a greater respect for the policy.

5. Communicate with your employees

A final consideration for employers and business owners is to look at why this is happening.

Talking to your employees about the reasons behind these absences will help you prevent them in the future.

Some common reasons for no-shows could be:

Benefits of implementing a no-call, no-show policy

Creating and implementing an effective strategy for employees not reporting to work will take time, but it will be worth it. Here are a few benefits you will likely see with less no-call, no-shows:

  • Increased productivity and morale for coworkers
  • Less wasted money on overtime and salaried workers who are getting paid for not being there
  • Improved communication between managers and team members

Of course, 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. We hope these tips help you and your team deal with the situation effectively and prevent issues in the future.

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