What to do When Employee Not Showing up to Work?

What to do When Employee Not Showing up to Work?

Employees being absent without notice is probably one of the worst regular situations a manager has to deal with. Policies for tardiness or absence may curb the issue, however, having consequences in place is also part of the solution. What to do When Employee Not Showing up to Work?

No-call-no-show is a regular occurrence, one that a manager has to be able to handle without any hitch. There will be some employees that keep repeating the turning-up-with-no-notice. So how does a manager handle such situations?  

The responsibilities of a manager

A manager or supervisor has many responsibilities, from making sure all work is done on time, all resources are accounted for, to making sure all employees are performing at their best and are regularly showing up for work. The manager is responsible for all that goes on in their department or office, and that is why they can tend to be a bit strict when it comes to things that concern employees and work timings.

While a good work ethic is very important to be a good employee, the manager has to make sure that no one falls behind on work or is late to work, even if it is every once in a while. There may be many valid reasons that may result in an employee that doesn’t turn up for work or is late, the manager has to keep in mind that if they are lax with one employee then all employees will behave in the same way.

As a manager, it is crucial to have your employer respect you and listen to you. It is a manager’s job to be amicable and personable to keep the morale of the department up but they should also be able to draw a line in what an employee can and can not do.

And one of those lines drawn should concern tardiness and absences with or without notice of such. This is very important, employees won’t respect their manager if the manager can not get the few strays in line. The professional image of the manager is important, as are their relationships with each employee. The manager should be able to gauge and handle situations in such a way as to keep up their professionalism without compromising on employee-manager relationships. This is why people skills are incredibly important for a manager.

Tardy employees

Most employees that come into work late or are late for meetings have a plethora of reasons, that run from ‘my alarm was turned off, ‘I had a prior appointment that ran late’, ‘my kid…’ to transit delays, sick children, and family emergencies. 

Invalidating the employee’s problems as a manager will only lead to future conflict with the said employee, as they may feel like their problems are being dismissed. So, it is up to the manager to handle the situation and stop it from happening again. While it is important to give a bit of slack, there will be instances or situations where the manager will have to put their foot down and call it a lost cause.

No call no show

A no-call-no-show occurs when the employee doesn’t turn into the office the entire day without any word of taking the day off. Most companies have a ‘zero tolerance’ or ‘3 strikes’ policy on no-show with severe consequences if there is no notice provided. Companies expect at least a day’s notice if an employee is not turning up so that they can re-delegate work or work around the problem. Or even a call in the morning in case of sickness. 

Companies and managers expect their employees to abide by the company’s rules which include leaves without notice. No matter how good an employee is at a job, if the employee can not be consistent in their attendance then they may very well lose the job, irrespective of their performance. Regular attendance displays that the employee can be dependent on and has a good work ethic.

What can a manager do?

There is no one solution to situations like this since no two employees are the same or face the same circumstances. So how should a manager handle tardy employees or no-call-no-show?

  1. Assess the situation and be compassionate

As a manager, you might want to give the employee an earful for not turning up or being late. A good hashing out of the situation might be what one would think is a good idea. It really isn’t, especially publicly. As mentioned above, a manager has to be professional while still having a good relationship with the employee. So, any words exchanged about the employee should be behind closed doors.

Take the employee to your office and privately address the situation. The manager’s first response should be to assess the situation. Ask what the issue was and inquire about the reason the employee didn’t turn up or came in late. The manager should come across as reasonable and understanding.

  1. Communicate the problem

Once the situation is cleared up, it’s now up to the manager whether they think the reason is acceptable or not. Either way, the manager needs to make sure that the situation does not repeat without certain consequences.

The managers should start by communicating that most reasons are valid reasons, but they should not infringe on the professional side of an employee’s life. Stress on the fact that you, as a manager, have certain responsibilities and certain expectations to live up to. Due to this, the manager has limitations in how many leaves that they may allocate or tardiness that they can tolerate.

Try to highlight that a call is extremely necessary if an employee is taking leave at least a few hours before the workday starts or before a meeting that they mean to skip. The employee should either have someone cover for them or work an extra shift to cover up important work. Have the employee give you a solution or a workaround in case they cannot come in, but have them inform you with no excuses.

  1. Lay down some ground rules

Even though an employee not turning up might have many situations like another employee covering the work or deletion of tasks, a manager can not and should not tolerate employees that don’t turn up for work with or without notice.

Setting up ground rules or having policies in place to curb tardiness or absences is a great first step in handling such situations. However, having policies is just a part of the solution, the other part is having methods to enforce these policies or consequences in place.

A manager should have the ability to cite employees on policies regarding tardiness and absences as well as enforcing these policies. If the manager just calls out employees for disregard the company and its policies without any action taken, then that manager is not a good manager. And bad managers can not run a team or a department. A manager should be able to manage and run the team or employees properly and efficiently. 

  • Set up a policy 
  • Assign paid and unpaid leaves, sick and personal days
  • Allocate a time frame for the employee to provide a notice for absence
  • Have methods of reallocation of work in place
  • Communicate the problems faced by the managerial team
  • Detail consequences and the severity


Having such policies and consequences for when employees don’t show up, helps keep the managerial team and the employees on the same page on reporting practices and what is deemed acceptable by the company. This can help reduce manager-employee conflict concerning leave days and detailed methods on how to handle such situations. 

Even though a manager follows all policies and methods to solve the situation, one also has to remember that not all conflicts can be solved. A manager has to decide whether the employee should be retained or not after careful consideration, on account of delays and absences. A single bad employee can undermine the entire department’s work. It is far more important to keep up the departments or the employees’ standards than it is to try to retain a single employee. Try to solve the conflict to the best of your ability, but if you think that the employees are a lost cause and can not be disciplined, terminate their contract as a last resort.

What to do When Employee Not Showing up to Work?

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