What To Do When Your Employee Doesn't Show Up For Work
Updated: Mar 2
It's a typical Monday. You had a 9am meeting scheduled with your employee, but they didn't show up. At 9:15 am you sent them an email asking if they needed to reschedule, but you didn't receive a response. At 11am you texted them to make sure you didn't miss that they were on vacation this week, but once again you didn't receive a response. It's now 4pm. What do you do?
My advice to clients is generally to assume that there is a justifiable reason for the employee being out without notice rather than jump to conclusions (like the employee is lying in a ditch somewhere). So if you've already emailed and texted, the next thing to do is to call. Assuming you don't reach the employee, you CALL YOUR HR DEPARTMENT, document everything that you've done and wait until Tuesday (or do whatever HR tells you to do). Of course, the question in most people's minds will be whether the employee has walked off the job or is injured/sick/in the hospital.
If the employee shows up on Tuesday, talk to them about why they were out on Monday without notice. Depending on your company policies, you may need to discipline the employee and/or makes sure they understand their obligations to keep the company informed of their status. It's always great to explain WHY the company needs this information, such as the need to staff around absences or to make sure client work is handled. HR should be involved in these conversations.
If they don't show up on Tuesday, things start to get a little more serious. My recommendation is to call and text once again in the morning. If you have to leave a voicemail, I would recommend saying that you are concerned about the employee's welfare and if you don't hear back from them you will call the police to perform a wellness check. Some employers like to do a quick social media check to see if there are any recent postings that might indicate that the employee is OK physically.
If Wednesday rolls around and you still haven't heard from the employee, it may be time to call the police (non-emergency number) and ask them to perform a wellness check. If the employee is not located, you will have to make a decision about whether to treat this as a voluntary resignation or an involuntary termination. This decision should be made in consultation with your HR department and/or legal counsel.
If you find that the employee has been injured or is sick, you will need to follow up with them about their leave of absence and return to work plans. Be sure to consult with your HR department on how to handle this situation.
Bottom line - don't panic, but do take action if an employee doesn't show up for work without notice. And always involve HR in these situations!