Job abandonment can negatively affect your organization. It disrupts schedules and productivity when someone fails to show up to work, and others must be recruited to fill the void. It is not the ideal situation to be sure. Thankfully, as a business owner, you can learn the common reasons behind most job abandonment and determine ways to negate these issues, preventing as much abandonment as possible.
What is Job Abandonment?
First things first, what does it mean for an employee to abandon their job? Well, put simply, job abandonment occurs when an employee misses multiple days of work without giving notice or indicating if or when they will return to work. Even though it isn’t common, sometimes employees choose to “abandon” their jobs or simply not show up for work without indicating why to their supervisors.
Clear job abandonment policies can provide managers with guidance on how to handle this situation, while also reducing your liability as an employer. Abandonment and absenteeism both involve unplanned absences from scheduled work, but they are not the same. Absenteeism occurs when an employee misses work but returns. Conversely, job abandonment occurs when an employee does not intend to return to work.
Why Does Job Abandonment Happen?
Of course, each instance of job abandonment will have a different motivation, which depends on many factors. Here are the eight leading causes of job abandonment:
- Fear of quitting in person due to embarrassment. If an employee feels they will be berated or criticized because they need to quit, they might opt to simply abandon the job instead of communicating what’s going on.
- Finding another job with a different employer. Everyone has their reasons for moving on. Perhaps it's because they need to relocate to another part of the country, or they simply want to move in a different direction professionally, but sometimes people just want to move on.
- An emergency involving a family member or friend. When a family member is sick or dying, it can be a great burden on family members to care for them or oversee their care at the very least. This can be a very stressful situation that can lead a person to abandon a job.
- Dissatisfaction with the job due to a lack of recognition or poor company culture. If your company culture is toxic, especially toward hardworking employees who want to advance, this can lead to them wanting to abandon their job instead of trying to rise above the issue.
- Reluctance to return to work due to health or hygiene concerns. Make sure your work is a safe area for all employees in terms of equipment and safety practices.
- An attitude of carelessness or negligence by the employee.
- Experiencing too much emotional, physical, or mental exhaustion at work. It’s important to not expect more than is humanly reasonable from employees. After all, they are only human so asking too much can lead to increased instances of job abandonment.
- A lack of understanding of the company’s policy on abandoning work, absenteeism, or unlimited vacation.
Tips For Preventing Job Abandonment
No matter how much you try, you will be unable to prevent all cases of job abandonment. You can reduce your occurrences of job abandonment by implementing the following eight tips:
- Be transparent about your job abandonment policy. Make sure all employees know where your company stands on the issue.
- Have a lenient policy regarding leave and absences. Make sure that you allow employees to handle family emergencies without having to endure criticism or punishment for doing so.
- Be flexible with scheduling. If an employee expresses a need for certain hours, try to work with them to the best of your ability. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but try to be considerate of an employee going through something who is still trying to work, and allow them some grace.
- Maintain regular communication with employees. Make sure you have current cell phone numbers or other ways to communicate with your employees, so you can check in on them if they miss work.
- Organize surveys. This allows you to know what your employees are thinking, what they might need, and what is stressing them out.
- Reexamine your vacation policy. Consider how much time you are giving your employees off and if it is truly enough to promote a life of wellness.
- Consider implementing a medical leave of absence policy. This can help employees struggling with either physical or mental health issues maintain their job status while getting the help or treatment they need to get better.
- Celebrate departing employees. When an employee moves on to another company, don’t make them feel like enemy number one or take it as a personal insult. Instead, celebrate the time that they gave you and celebrate them as an employee. This will communicate to current employees that their efforts are valued as is their presence.
Bottom Line: Job Abandonment Can be Addressed
Inevitably, no matter what, you will have some employees who abandon their jobs. However, knowing why job abandonment often occurs and how to prevent the problem is key to finding solutions to the issue for your business. Keep the information outlined above in mind to address the concerns of abandonment throughout your company and hopefully also reduce the instances your business regularly faces.
Originally published 7/5/22 - Updated 5/1/23