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Job Abandonment: What To Do Before Employees Disappear

office empty due to job abandonment

Don’t let job abandonment become a problem in your business. Learn how to spot the signs and keep your employees from disappearing.

In this article, the employee-management experts at Sling define job abandonment, reveal why it happens, and give you steps to prevent this behavior from affecting your team.

What Is Job Abandonment?

empty tables at a cafe

Job abandonment is when a team member is absent from the workplace for several consecutive days without giving prior notice and without communicating when — or if — they will return to work.

Many managers confuse job abandonment with no call, no show absences, but the two are not synonymous.

A no call, no show absence occurs once within a given workweek. You may consider it job abandonment once a no call, no show absence stretches into two, three, or four consecutive days within a given workweek (depending on your policies).

For example, if an employee doesn’t show up for their shift on Tuesday (and doesn’t call you) but then returns to work on Wednesday, that’s a no call, no show absence.

On the other hand, if an employee doesn’t show up for their shift on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, that’s job abandonment.

In either situation — no call, no show absence or job abandonment — you have an obligation to contact the employee to find out why they didn’t report for work.

No call, no show absences are usually grounds for discipline of some type.

Job abandonment, alternatively, skips the disciplinary steps and goes right to voluntary termination — voluntary, rather than involuntary, because the employee chose to skip work without telling you.

Before you act, though, check local, state, and federal laws regarding job abandonment (e.g., the Family and Medical Leave Act and Disabilities Act) to ensure that you’re not violating your employee’s rights.

Why Does Job Abandonment Happen?

Empty office with laptop and blue chair

There are many reasons why employees abandon their jobs. Chief amongst those reasons are:

  • Embarrassment
  • Fear of resigning in person
  • Inability to meet job requirements
  • Ignorance of your business’s absenteeism policy
  • Receipt of a better offer elsewhere
  • Unawareness of how their absence will affect your team

Whatever the employee’s motivation may be for not reporting to work, there are steps you can take before they reach that point to help them stay engaged in their job and prevent abandonment from happening.

How To Prevent Job Abandonment

two business women discussing job abandonment

1) Include Job Abandonment Policies In Your Employee Handbook

Every business should have policies in place to deal with absences — be they one-time occurrences that lead to discipline or multiple-day stretches that lead to termination.

Without such policies, employees can start to take advantage of the system. This can result in significant scheduling, efficiency, and morale problems for your business.

One of the best ways to deal with absence problems before they start is to create a specific policy in your employee handbook.

This policy should include the proper methods for handling emergencies and time-off requests. It should then define what constitutes abandonment so your employees know exactly what it is.

Finally, this policy should list the possible consequences of not telling anyone that you’re not coming in to work.

We also recommend hiring a lawyer who is well-versed in your state’s employment laws to review your policy. That way you can be sure you’ve covered all your bases legally in case you have to deal with this type of issue in a court of law.

2) Conduct Periodic Employee Reviews

Periodic performance reviews are an effective way to avoid employee attendance problems before they begin and prevent job abandonment in the long run.

During the employee review, be sure to address both good and bad behaviors, as well as good and bad performance, you have noted so that the employee can build on the good and reduce the bad.

Doing so gives the employee something to focus on — improving their performance — and serves as a challenge that keeps them excited about their job.

Schedule your employee reviews every three months to keep your team members focused, engaged, and happy in their work.

3) Learn How To Motivate Your Employees

Motivating your employees can be a daunting and difficult task — mainly because there are so many different personality types (16 dominant ones at current count).

But when you take the time to identify the personality types that make up your team, you can give your employees tasks that are a fit for the way their brains naturally work.

When you do that, your employees stay motivated and the likelihood that they will abandon their jobs decreases dramatically.

4) Offer Medical Leave And Vacation Time

Fringe benefits like medical leave and vacation time not only help to boost morale and enjoyment, but they also reduce the chance that an employee will abandon their job completely.

As we discussed, job abandonment can have a profound effect on every aspect of your business. Nine times out of 10, you can trace abandonment back to illness, an accident, or some other medical condition.

If you offer medical leave or vacation time to your employees, they will avail themselves of that perk to get the time off they need rather than simply leaving work one day and never showing up or calling again.

Avoid Job Abandonment With Effective Scheduling

One of the best ways to avoid job abandonment is to improve your employees’ work performance through effective scheduling. And the best way to schedule your team quickly and efficiently is with the Sling suite of tools.

Sling's scheduling app to reduce job abandonment

At its core, Sling makes it possible — and easy! — to schedule even the most complicated shifts, like:

But the benefits don’t stop there. Sling also offers advanced features, such as:

With Sling, you have everything you need to make your job — and your employees’ jobs — easier and more enjoyable.

Labor cost feature on Sling

And when your team is happy, the potential for job abandonment decreases significantly.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

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