What should I do if an employee doesn’t show up for a shift?

If walking off the job is out of the ordinary for an employee, first make sure they are okay. Call them and their emergency contacts.

If it is truly odd that the employee did not show up, after the second day, I may even call the police. Otherwise, check your state and local laws but if an employee no-calls no-shows that is grounds for termination and is usually also considered voluntary job abandonment.  

[Reduce no-shows with our free employee scheduling app.]

If the employee happens to later have proof that they no-called no-showed because they were in an emergency situation, I might just discipline and give them one more chance. Otherwise, I assume it is job abandonment.

Of course, it’s possible your employee just forgot they were scheduled to work. You can limit that by using work scheduling software like Homebase, that will send them automatic reminders whenever the schedule is published and one hour before they shift starts.

What should I do if an employee walks out?

If an employee walks out, this is a signal that something is going wrong in the workplace.

Yes, an employee should never walk off the job and it’s of course grounds for termination (depending on circumstances and legal compliance).  But, ask yourself what is going on with your management style and workplace culture to drive an employee to this action.

A powerful and simple habit to transform your management style and commitment of your employees is to regularly have brief conversations with employees that you trust.

Ask them for help for your growth in your management style. Ask what is going well and what you can do to improve. Then, if you follow up on their advice every few weeks checking in to ask them if you are doing any better on the items they suggested, your management style will not only dramatically improve but your employees will be committed to helping you and the business succeed.  

If you have an employee walking off on the job, take this take this team culture quiz to see if the problem is you or them.  

One Response to “What Should I Do if an Employee Walks Out or Doesn’t Show Up for a Shift?”

  1. My coworker walked out because of disrespectful behavior to another coworker. The manager changed our schedule knowing we had family engagement, and it’s not my fault or my problem my coworker walked out. I think my manager should pick up his shift and not make the other employee that already had plans work his shift, Am i wright or wrong?


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