A runaway employee's empty desk

A Runaway Employee? What You Should Do

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Businesses rely heavily on their employees to maintain operations. They trust that these individuals will uphold the company’s values and contribute to its growth. When an employee violates this trust, it can significantly impact the business.

Runaway employees are a growing concern for employers. According to a National Business Research Institute report, 4 percent of employers reported that an employee had run away in the past year. This number is up from 2 percent the year before.

Losing an employee out of nowhere can be a nightmare for any business. It can disrupt operations, cause customers to be upset, and result in a loss of productivity. Operations might stop suddenly, leading to delays and disruptions that your business could avoid. Moreover, it might cost a lot of money and even damage the business reputation.

When you suspect that an employee is about to run away, there are some things that you can do to try and prevent it.

Reach Out to the Team and Employee

The first step will always be about communication. You need to understand why the employee is running away. Is it because of a problem at work? Or is it something personal? If work-related, try to address the issue directly with the employee. If it’s personal, you can still reach out and offer support.

In today’s day and age, social media can be a valuable tool for communication. You can use it to reach out to the employee and see if they’re okay. If they are, you can try to resolve the issue through messaging or video calls.

If you can’t get in touch with the employee, you should reach out to their team. Ask if they know where the employee is or if they’ve been in touch with them. They might be able to provide some insight into what’s going on.

Alert the Authorities

You should alert the authorities if you can’t get in touch with the employee and suspect they’ve run away. This situation is especially important if employees leave without notice or take their personal belongings with them.

The police can help you track down the employees and return them to the company. They can also investigate the situation and see if any criminal activity has occurred.

Alerting the authorities should always be a last resort. You should only do this if you’re sure the employee has run away and there’s no other way to get in touch with them.

Take Action Against the Employee

Taking legal action for AWOL employee

Once you’ve verified that the employee has run away, you can take action against them. This will depend on the severity of the situation and the company’s policies.

The first step is to cancel their access to company systems. This includes email, social media, and any other accounts they might have. It would help if you also changed the passwords to these accounts to prevent them from accessing them.

If the employee has taken company property with them, you can file a police report. This will help you track down the property and get it back. It would help if you also considered taking legal action against the employee. This is especially true if they’ve signed a contract with the company. You can also seek help with the process service of a subpoena to compel the employee to testify in a deposition or trial.

Firing the employee is also an option. You should do this if they’ve violated company policy or their contract. It’s also good to do this if they’ve stolen company property. You can send them a notice of termination via email or registered mail. However, it should be the last resort, especially when the employee has not committed any significant offenses.

What If an Employee Comes Back?

Prolonged unexplained absences will require some investigation on the employer’s part to mitigate any future risk to the business.

You should investigate the situation when an employee returns after running away. There should be a valid reason for their absence, which should get documented. You can take action against the employee if there’s no good reason. This includes firing them or taking legal action. Some reasons include getting involved in an accident, grieving a departed loved one, or a mental struggle rendering the employee unable to work. Steps must get taken to assist the employee during those situations, ensuring they know you can support them.

It would be best if you also put a policy in place to prevent this from happening again. This policy should include requiring employees to give notice before they leave or instituting a no-tolerance policy for running away.

Running away from work is a severe offense that can have significant consequences for the employee and the company. If you suspect an employee has run away, you should take action immediately. This includes getting in touch with the employee, reaching out to their team, and alerting the authorities.

Final Thoughts

Preventing an employee from running away can be difficult. However, it’s essential to take action if it happens. By taking the proper steps, you can protect your business and avoid a loss of productivity.

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