How Employers Can Reduce “No Call – No Show” Incidents

Nothing is more frustrating to employers, supervisors, HR managers and staff than when an employee fails to show up to work!  The immediate effects are obvious – it impacts the day’s work flow, burdens co-workers, puts extra work on the supervisor to determine cause and always, always affects the bottom line of an employer’s profits.

It is easy to cast blame on the employee for not notifying the employer.  For many companies, failure to “call in” is considered job abandonment and is grounds for immediate termination.  But in this labor market, who can afford a high rate of turnover? 

We in the staffing business have come to see that many Employers’ don’t help their cause—in fact, employer’s often set themselves up for this kind of employee behavior.  Them’s fighting words you say?  Let’s look at some best practice solutions that deal with this problem—and ask yourself, am I doing all I can to help my employees report their absence?

1. Implement a “No-Call / No Show” Policy & Procedure and publish it in your company handbook.  The handbook must clearly identify and outline the “No-Call / No Show” policy, provide a procedure for calling in, and a statement about the consequences of not reporting into work.

2. Review Policy at New Employee Orientation: When first hired, review the policy and procedure with the new hire and have them sign a document saying they have received instructions and understand the consequences of a “No Call –No Show” incident.

3. Communicate “No-Call / No Show” Policy & Procedure annually with all employees – no exceptions.  This is the Number #1 failure of employers!  When was the last time you let ALL your employees know what the procedure is for “calling in” to report an absence?  Make sure all employees, including long-time workers, staffers, and supervisors get updated.

4. Provide multiple “Call in” Options – this is the key to managing your incidents:

  • A) Supply a laminated, wallet-sized card with a voicemail phone number and instructions on what to do when an employee needs to call in to report an unplanned absence.
  • B) Provide a dedicated “Absent Call-In” voicemail phone number.

Employee Responsibility:  Require all employees to use it (yes, even supervisors, admins, and management).  Having a single recording “go to” source for all employees makes for better HR monitoring.  Make sure it can handle multiple call-in’s – and let workers know that getting a busy signal does not excuse them – they must leave a message for it to “count.” Let your employees know that the recording is checked daily—both for messages and that the recording is working properly.

Employer’s Responsibility: Make sure you assign a staff member to collect the recordings at least (2) times a day – early am and in the evening before office closing.  If you run work shifts, you can implement a policy of workers calling in at least 2-hours before each shift with a staff member collecting those recordings at that time. Ensure your supervisors are properly trained in how to document messages and absences containing medical information.

  • C) Provide a company “Absent Text In” phone number: Time to embrace the digital age…and believe it or not – this works!  Hopefully, it can be the same number as the voicemail.  What does not work is when an employee texts an individual co-worker or supervisor with a message – making them responsible for informing the company.  This goes wrong for too many reasons to mention.  For HR compliance, recording purposes and to protect your liability, inform your employees that only the company “text line” is the official reporting source.  No other types of texting “counts” when communicating a work absence.

Evaluating Emergencies: There will be times when due to an emergency an employee will not be able to “call in” in a timely manner.  In this day and age, circumstances that prevent an employee from calling in an absence are rare, but they do happen.   One such circumstance is if an employee is in the hospital with no access to a phone, however, there usually is a family member or family friend who can call the company.  Another circumstance may be if an employee’s child or spouse has died, calling an employer will not be an employee’s first priority.  Situations such as those should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  And of course, this policy does not apply to pre-arranged/pre-planned absences such as PTO, vacation, etc. 

Craft a Solution that fits your Company!  Reducing “No Call – No Show” incidents takes a combination of employee education, setting a clear reporting policy and procedure— and perhaps most critically—providing multiple pathways for employees to communicate back to you easily.  By helping your employees, you help your company retain those employees that might inadvertently get caught up in a call-in challenge. If you need help in crafting a “No Call –No Show” policy and a procedure for reporting or need help implementing an orientation or updating your handbook on this topic—Call Sequoia Personnel Services – We’re here to help!