Combating the No-Show

There are few things as frustrating to a recruiter than a no-show. No matter how thoroughly you vet a candidate, and no matter how much you emphasize the importance of reliable transportation and timeliness, there is always the chance that a person will flake on the first day of their assignment.

The numbers vary when it comes to the quantity of no-shows you can expect. Estimates range anywhere from one in eight to one in four employees not showing up for their first day of work.

Your recruiters spend hours pounding the pavement to get candidates through the door, vetted and onboarded, and a no-show renders that time virtually worthless. It’s not just time and money that are wasted. No-shows can fracture client relationships and can even damage your reputation in the community.

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Preventive Measures

An ounce of prevention, as they say, is worth a pound of cure. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you can eliminate no-shows 100%. However, you can take steps to reduce no-shows and improve customer satisfaction. Here are some suggestions to help you combat no-shows:

Be the Best Choice. Unemployment has reached pre-recession levels, coming in consistently around 4% (or lower in some areas). People who truly want to work have options – and some no-shows are really about opportunity. Other staffing firms can poach a great associate at the last minute by offering them a higher pay rate. To prevent this source of no-showmanship, always offer the best assignment by:

  • Talking to clients about pay rates that might be too low to attract reliable people.
  • Develop a benefits package for temporary associates who meet eligibility requirements.
  • Fully prepare each employee for their assignment so they know what to expect.
  • Offer career support services or other “perks” your competitors do not offer.
  • Offer direct deposit or cash cards for paycheck convenience and speed.

Incentivize Attendance. Many staffing firms are morally opposed to rewarding associates for something as basic as showing up for work. But if your team struggles with no-shows, it might be time to bite the bullet. Incentives can push people to take the extra step of finding alternative transportation or locating childcare in a pinch. Consider:

  • Each week, enter associates with perfect attendance in a raffle. Draw for a fun prize at the end of the month.
  • Develop a monetary bonus once per quarter for those with a perfect record.
  • Set up an annual bonus for associates who maintain perfect attendance for the year.

Pick Up the Phone. A call to an employee the night before an assignment can remind them of their start time and clear up any scheduling confusion. A second wake up call or pre-shift call can also light a fire under the employee and get them motivated. There are automated services available to make these calls for you, saving your staff the extra time and effort.

Overbook Assignments. If an assignment calls for 15 people, book 16 because odds are high that at least one of those employees will not show up. This can cost a little more, but it will save you money in the long run by ensuring client trust and developing a reputation as a staffing firm that delivers.  If overbooking is an expense you just can’t justify, keep a few employees on paid standby so you can quickly cover a no-show.

Get Tech Savvy. Some staffing companies are relying on GPS to help them stay on top of employees and prevent no-shows. They leverage technology to locate an associate via their mobile device and determine whether that person will be more than 15 minutes late for an assignment. In such a case, the firm can deploy a standby employee to ensure the shift is covered.

Don’t Re-Assign No-Shows. A zero-tolerance policy for no shows will tell associates that you mean business:

  • Do not rebook employees who pull a no-call, no-show and do not have a protected reason why. It is important to share the policy with them early on.
  • If you have to reassign someone who has flaked in the past, offer the second chance but indicate it as the final chance. Protected reasons why someone would no-call, no-show should be discussed with legal and/or human resources representatives. Examples could be hospitalization, disability (physical or mental), domestic violence, etc. Especially in states that have specific Leave Acts.

Keep Great People Working. Some people enjoy the freedom and flexibility of temporary and contract assignments, and they want to work with firms that will keep them working a fairly regular schedule. When your team identifies a strong performer, go above and beyond to keep that person working with great employers so they will stay loyal to you.

  • Check in with the employee as the assignment starts to wind down.
  • Send them opportunities that may be coming down the pike to gauge interest.
  • After each assignment, check back in to get the employee’s feedback to show that you want input to make future assignments even better.

You cannot eliminate every no-show, but you can greatly reduce their frequency by focusing on prevention. A little bit of proactive strategizing can prevent a lot of last-minute scrambling to cover your clients’ needs.

Tammi Heaton

Tammi Heaton
Tammi Heaton is COO of PrideStaff. She can be reached at theaton (at) pridestaff (dot) com.

Tammi Heaton

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