Workplace Ghosting – What is it all about!!
Our working relationships are often the second most important grouping after our family, I wonder is that the reason why the term ‘ghosting’ has transitioned in recent years from the world of friendships and relationships into the workplace.
What Is Workplace Ghosting?
In the context of the workplace, ghosting refers to the sudden and unexplained disappearance of an employee. This could take the form of an employee simply not showing up for work, not responding to messages or calls, or leaving without giving notice. Workplace ghosting can also occur during the recruitment process, when a job candidate suddenly stops responding to an employer’s calls or emails, or fails to show up for scheduled interviews.
Why Does Workplace Ghosting Happen?
There are many reasons why an employee might choose to ghost their employer. Potential candidates may ghost during the recruitment process if they’ve found another job opportunity that’s more attractive or if they’ve decided they’re no longer interested in the position they applied for. It’s also possible that they’ve experienced frustration with the employer’s communication or recruitment process and have chosen to opt out as a result.
On the other hand, employers may ghost a potential candidate by simply not engaging with them or inviting them to an interview process, and in some situations employers simply don’t update candidates on the outcome of the interview process itself. This can be as a result of an error or indeed poor recruitment practices with the employer only focusing their attention on their preferred candidate of choice.
For the employees who leave an actual job ghosting their employer could be a sign of dissatisfaction with their job or the culture. If an employee feels that they are not being treated fairly or that their contributions are not being recognised, they may decide to simply walk away without explanation. In some cases, employees may be experiencing harassment or discrimination and feel that ghosting is their only option for getting out of a toxic work environment. In serious situations of this nature it is possible the employee will take a constructive dismissal case via the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
What can be done to minimise workplace ghosting?
While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of workplace ghosting, there are steps that employers can take to minimise the likelihood of it happening. For me the two most important things to remember is to communicate effectively and treat everyone in the process with respect.
Here are a few strategies to address workplace ghosting:
- Communication – whether this is during the recruitment or employment relationship employers should communicate clearly and consistently. Set clear expectations and follow-up when necessary.
- Respect – employers and candidates / employees need to treat others at work with the same level of respect as you would expect to receive. The marketplace is small, it is worth remembering everyone knows someone and you never know how this relationship will impact on future working relationships.
As an employer it is important to also:
- Address issues in a timely manner.
- Provide feedback to both potential and actual employees.
- Conduct exit interviews for employees who are leaving – remembering it’s the trends that count most.
What to do if you have been ghosted during the recruitment process?
Firstly remember this is a refection on the other party rather than on yourself, it is always best to communicate when exiting a workplace relationship – even if it is just a potential relationship. However, as we know that ghosting does take place here are some ideas as to what you could do:
- Follow up with a polite email to prompt for some feedback.
- Recruitment can take a lot longer than we anticipate for all sorts of reasons, if this is a potential relationship which matters to you then wait and allow some additional time for the other party to respond.
- Reach out via other channels – if your email has had no response try a phone call or to make contact via the likes of Linked In.
- Consider if it is time to move on. Recruitment is the starting point of building what may be a long term employment relationship – if you are not feeling loved at this point (as either party) then consider if it is time to look at the alternative options open to you and move onto the next role or candidate.
Workplace ghosting is a growing problem that can be difficult for employers to address. Effective communication and treating others with respect is the key to having effective workplace relationships. It is worth remembering that you are likely to cross paths with the same individual / company again so treat others with respect and thus protect your own credibility moving forward.
Listen to Louisa Meehan talk with Pat Kenny @Newstalk FM on Workplace Ghosting