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How Businesses Can Track Missing Employees

— April 17, 2020

It is always a stressful and traumatic experience when employees go missing, follow these steps to help you cope with these difficult times! 

Did you know that more than 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year? If you thought that most missing persons cases are women or children, think again!

It is estimated that of the missing people in the United States, 60% are male and 40% are female. And, the average age of a missing person is 34 years. 

With cases of employees going missing or AWOL (Absent without leave) rising every year, it can be an HR department’s nightmare even if a single employee fails to report to work. 

One of the biggest problems that the Human Resource team faces in case of unplanned absence from work is to determine whether the employee is absent due to legitimate reasons. 

A sudden disappearance of an employee from work may cause concern, anxiety, nervousness, tension, and fear to his colleagues and team. Questions like, “Has he met with an accident? Has he been imprisoned, and if so, how do you find the prison details? Is he in the hospital?” may keep bothering the HR team and the rest of the employees. 

So, how can businesses track missing employees?

Employees are every business’s greatest strength and asset. It is essential to design and implement a systematic plan to ensure that you are able to track missing employees. 

Decide on a protocol for action

The first and foremost step towards helping your business track missing employees to develop an action plan to meet with such a contingency. 

The initial step of action decides on the time-period for taking necessary steps. Very often it may happen that the employee may not be able to contact you due to genuine reasons. Usually, HR departments prefer to wait for three to four working days before taking the necessary steps.


In case the employee fails to resume work after the stipulated time-period here is a list of actions that you need to follow:

  1. Call: Try calling the employee or his relatives. It always helps to maintain an employee data bank with contact details of employees and their relatives along with other vital information. 
  2. Email: Send an email to the employee along with his relatives.
  3. Personal Visit: If there is no reply to the phone calls or emails, designate a team member to visit the employee’s home. 
  4. Professional steps: If you fail to get any information about your employee its time for you to take the following steps to ensure the safety of your company:
    1. Cancel all company credit cards
    2. Remove missing person’s signature from official accounts
    3. Cancel SIM cards or mobile numbers
    4. Send emails to vendors, clients, bankers informing them about the missing employee.
    5. Publish a Newspaper advertisement regarding the missing employee if needed.

Move to Plan—B

Prison cells; image by Carles Rabada, via
Prison cells; image by Carles Rabada, via

If there is no trace of the employee even on a personal visit to his home, you need to take more concrete steps towards his absence:

  1. Call the police: The first step at this stage is to inform the police about the missing employee. Make sure you provide all the requisite information about his appearance, contact details, and important company information that he may possess with him. 
  2. Look up the prisons: A police inquiry takes its own time. It may also help to search for the missing employee in prisons. One of the easiest and fastest ways to track a missing employee is by using a comprehensive website that provides information about different prisons across the country, and also helps in inmate search. 
  3. Search the hospitals and morgues: One of the toughest tasks that you may face with a missing employee is checking hospitals and morgues for your missing asset.

It is always a stressful and traumatic experience when employees go missing, follow these steps to help you cope with these difficult times! 

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