How To Handle No Call, No Shows: A Guide For Managers

no call, no show

When an employee fails to show up for work and doesn’t give any warning or let anyone know why they won’t be there, it’s called a no call, no show absence. These events can have a serious effect on the rest of your team and the way your business works.

In this article, we discuss how to handle no call, no show employees and give you tips for preventing such absences in the first place.

Table Of Contents

How To Handle No Call, No Show Employees

computer to handle no call, no show

1) Create An Attendance Policy

One of the best ways to handle no call, no show (or NCNS) employees is to create an attendance policy that establishes rules and guidelines for showing up at work on time every day.

An effective attendance policy may include such topics as:

Take the last bullet point — job abandonment — as an example. Your attendance policy may define this type of offense and list what will happen after one, two, three, or more incidents (here’s an example to work from).

With such policies in place, you then have a foundation on which to base your decisions when it comes to NCNS absences.

2) Address No Call, No Show Events Directly

Whether no call, no show events are a problem already or might become a problem in the future, it’s important to address the topic directly in your company attendance policy.

In addition to defining what constitutes this type of absence, your attendance policy can also benefit from including instructions for handling emergencies, time-off requests, and scheduling conflicts — events that often precede an NCNS absence.

When your employees know the proper procedure for dealing with such circumstances, they’ll be better prepared to act correctly (i.e., according to your business’s policies) should something come up that prevents them from reporting for work.

Once you have an attendance policy in place that includes rules for NCNS absences, it can also be beneficial to consult with a lawyer who is well-versed in your state’s employment laws.

Having a professional review your policies can help you be sure that all your bases are covered legally in case the situation escalates to the point that you have to dock pay or even let someone go.

3) Establish Clear Penalties

Man holding a red card

If you haven’t already established penalties for no call, no show absences, do so right away and include them in your company’s attendance policy.

While you don’t want to always focus on the negative, potential penalties are the best — and, sometimes, the only — deterrent that will keep your employees from failing to show up for work without letting a manager know.

Some businesses choose to go the zero-tolerance route and set up severe penalties for the first offense (e.g., immediate termination).

Other businesses choose to allow NCNS absences in some situations if the employee makes up the time within a week of their return.

If you’re running a business where each employee performs a specific task rather than working as part of a group, this probably won’t work. Instead, it may be better to establish a set of penalties that increase in severity with the number of absences that occur.

Here’s an example:

  • First offense: Verbal warning
  • Second offense: Written warning
  • Third offense: Meeting with supervisor
  • Fourth offense: Suspension without pay
  • Fifth offense: Termination

Whatever penalty policy you choose, make sure it’s clear and that everyone understands the consequences of their actions.

4) Enforce The Policy And Penalties Consistently

Once your no call, no show policy is in place, enforce the penalties consistently for all employees.

Whether you have a zero-tolerance policy or a set of penalties that culminate with termination, it’s important that you apply those consequences to everyone — even if the offender is an otherwise stellar employee.

Termination on the first offense isn’t always the best policy — though it may do a good job of deterring NCNS absences — because no two emergencies are the same.

An excellent employee may encounter circumstances that make it impossible for them to get to work or even call.

In such cases, it may be better to start with a warning (e.g., written or verbal) or suspend them without pay for a day rather than jumping right to termination.

Regardless of the penalties in place, sit down with the employee after the first offense and discuss how their actions affected the morale and cohesion of the team.

Be sure to stress how their absence affected the business as a whole so the employee understands that there’s more involved than just their job — everyone’s affected.

How To Prevent No Call, No Shows

busy restaurant

1) Build Employee Engagement

One of the best ways to prevent no call, no show absences is to build employee engagement throughout your business.

Engagement is a sense of being present in the moment, focused on the task at hand, and motivated to do the best work possible.

Loss of such a state of mind is often one of the first things to occur before they commit an NCNS absence.

If you notice engagement falling, you can counteract the downward trend by taking steps to build it up whenever possible.

If you’re unsure how to do this, try implementing one or more of these suggestions to get things going:

  • Implement a frustration box
  • Brainstorm with your team about engagement
  • Create a clear hierarchy of responsibility
  • Encourage innovation
  • Improve your leadership skills

2) Play Team-Building Games

Playing team-building games is a great way to build up your team so that they don’t start to consider an NCNS absence.

Team-building games don’t have to be long and drawn out to be effective — just 10 or 15 minutes once or twice a week — but they do need to be fun and engaging for those who participate.

Here are some of our favorite ideas for in-person, remote, and hybrid teams alike:

  • Typing race
  • Puzzle race
  • Emoji name that tune
  • Then and now

If you’re unsure what your team might enjoy, you can always run a fun question-and-answer session with questions like:

  • What is something you think is overrated?
  • Dogs or cats?
  • Would you rather join Metallica or the New Kids On The Block?
  • What is the worst gift you’ve ever received?
  • Do you fold your pizza?
  • Thick pizza or thin?
  • If you could be any animal for a week, which would you choose?

The point of all this is to get your employees to relax, have fun, and bond with their coworkers so that their job satisfaction and personal happiness stay as high as possible.

3) Focus On Employee Retention

Meeting to Focus On Employee Retention

When you dig deep into the subject of no call, no show absences, you’re likely to discover that employee retention lies at the heart of it all.

Armed with that knowledge, you can focus on the basics of keeping employees on the job longer as a way to deal with attendance issues in general and NCNS absences specifically.

Strengthening the foundation of attendance by dealing with the underlying issue — employee retention — goes a long way toward improving both the short- and long-term condition of your team and your business.

4) Promote Work-Life Balance

Promoting work-life balance goes a long way toward preventing NCNS absences from occurring in the first place.

When you focus on improving work-life balance, you can help prevent your team from burning out on the job to the point that they feel that not showing up is the only option.

There are so many ways to promote work-life balance — everything from offering flexible schedules to varying work distribution. Find the ones that work for your team and your business.

Manage No Call, No Show Employees Better With Inch

Manage No Call, No Show Employees Better With Inch

In many ways, handling no call, no show employees actually starts before the first absence and depends a great deal on the policies you put in place and how you manage your team.

By extension, then, a powerful workforce management tool like Inch can help you organize and optimize your workflow and can play a major role in helping you handle and prevent no call, no shows.

We built Inch to simplify and streamline every aspect of your scheduling, task administration, time tracking, attendance management, and team organization.

Those features — along with cloud-based operation and broad device- and operating-system availability — can make handling no call, no show employees at work easier than ever before.

Inch even gives your team members the flexibility to clock in and out right from their mobile device. The app then goes on to notify you when an employee is tardy, forgets to clock in, or is altogether absent from work.

That’s powerful control in the palm of your hand.

For more free resources to help you run your business better, organize and schedule your team, improve attendance at work, and track and calculate labor costs, visit today.

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