Have you ever been stood up? Had a friend make plans and then not show up? Or simply disappear from text, email or social media contact, without warning or explanation? Welcome to a practice known as “Ghosting”. This practice is upsetting in social relationships. And now Ghosting has begun to appear in workplaces.
Work-related Ghosting can take many forms. Some common scenarios are the following:
- A job applicant makes an appointment for an interview, by phone or in person, and is a “no show” for the in-person interview or fails to answer the interview call, without calling later to explain or reschedule.
- A job applicant accepts a position, agrees to a start date, and doesn’t show up for work. There is no communication to advise or explain the change in plans.
- An employee leaves for the day, for lunch, for the weekend or for a vacation, and never returns to work. No resignation or notice signals the employee’s intent to leave.
Why do these incidents occur? A job applicant may accept another position or a counter-offer from the current employer and decide not to waste time interviewing or notifying the prospective employer. An employee may decide not to stick around for an awkward resignation and final two weeks. Or, an employee may be disgusted enough with the work situation to feel justified in simply disappearing.
How can an organization avoid Ghosting? While it’s not possible to completely avoid all such incidents, here are some hints for avoiding some.
- When setting up an interview appointment, provide the candidate with contact information. Set the expectation that circumstances sometimes change and a call or email would be appreciated.
- When hiring a new employee, begin orientation immediately: stay in touch with the new employee between job offer and start date, communicate during the notice period (and potential counter-offers). Get the new employee on your team even before starting work.
- Gallup survey results show that employees are more likely to quit supervisors they dislike than to leave because of the company or job itself. Train or replace ineffective supervisors. Provide employees with a next level supervisor to talk with, a human resource professional to contact, or a problem resolution process to correct issues before they get to this frustration level.
With a tight job market and multiple opportunities for employees and candidates, it is unlikely an organization can eliminate all Ghosting. With careful communication, early and ongoing communication, and effective supervision and communication systems, it is possible to limit how often Ghosting occurs.