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How to Avoid Ghosting in the Workplace

Within the workforce, it's typically understood that you should inform the necessary people if you won't be attending a meeting, or if you are intending to leave the organization. It's generally a rule of thumb to give at least two weeks' notice when exiting a position. However, times are changing, and some individuals prefer to use the method referred to as "ghosting" to leave behind their former obligations.

What is ghosting you may ask? The term was popularized in the dating world to describe a person cutting off all sources of communication in order to display a disinterest in continuing the relationship. This can just as easily be done in the workforce. Communication can sometimes be hard to carry out for some employees, especially if they know it may be news their employers aren't happy to hear. Instead of facing the issue head-on, these employees either:

  • Don't show up for the interview
  • Miss their first day of work
  • Leave their job without notice


This can be difficult for employers as losing an employee can also mean losing money. Even more discouraging is that USA Today reports that 20 to 50 percent of applicants and workers are ghosting companies in one form or another. This response – or lack thereof – seems to be correlated with a low unemployment rate. Companies are hiring left and right so employees are often keeping their eyes open for better opportunities. When this "better opportunity" comes along – they vanish into thin air – much like a ghost! While there isn't an exact formula for preventing ghosting, you can follow a few guidelines to hopefully make your potential or current employees want to stick around or at the very least – communicate their intentions.

Earn Trust 

This may sound trivial, but gaining trust is important. Your employees are humans, just like you! As humans, we seek people that we can trust and often stay loyal to them. If you start to build a solid relationship with your employees, chances are they will be less likely to leave. Allegiance can go a long way.

Be Patient 

Abrupt or pushy behavior can often make the employee's onboarding process move backward instead of forward. If you practice patience and have a welcoming demeanor, employees may be less likely to feel intimidated. If they feel comfortable with you, they might be less intimidated when it comes to communicating with you too. 

​Challenge High-Potential Employees

In our previous blog, Developing High-Potential Employees, we talked about the importance of identifying and challenging high-potential employees or else they may be your next ghost. Some employees simply need an extra push to stay interested in their current position. If they feel underappreciated or bored, they're likely looking for a better opportunity.

Create a Positive Culture 

Creating a positive and communicative culture in the workplace can be quite the challenge – but so worth it! If you can successfully build this culture, employees will likely feel more welcomed to discuss issues or potential opportunities with their employers. Approachability can be key to a workplace where an employee feels as if they can discuss such matters instead of leaving without notice. As a bonus, if they discuss their reasons and plans for leaving, you may even be able to make an offer that will convince them to stay if you so choose.

This isn't to say that ghosting is the responsibility of the employer, because it absolutely falls on the shoulders of the person that cut off communication. This will likely come around to "haunt" them in future job searches. However, there are always ways that employers can foster an environment for open communication.

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