Recently, the social behavior phenomenon of ‘ghosting’ has made business news. For those who have yet to experience a ghosting incident in a personal or professional situation and need an explanation, here’s the dictionary.com definition, “Ghosting is the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation.” In the workplace setting, this has begun to happen when job candidates simply drop out of the hiring process, without explanation, or communication, or response. Or never show up after accepting the offer – again with zero interaction or warning beforehand or after. It can happen with employees too – they simply stop coming to work. No notice. No details. Just poof! Gone. Like a ghost.
A few months ago, an article on LinkedIn sparked much commentary by ghosts and the ghosted. And although we as recruiters would never condone ghosting (the Golden Rule and just plain old courtesy and manners seem like reasons enough to us), it did get us thinking about why it might be happening. Insights from our latest job market research inspired a couple of theories. Is your company setting up the perfect ghosting excuse with any of these?
Loyalty Is a Two Way Street
According to our research, feelings of loyalty are low. Only half of talent in our survey said they’re loyal to their current company and even less – a third – felt loyalty reciprocated by their employer. If an employee feels like there isn’t a commitment to them by their employer, why would they feel compelled to stay committed?
Despite a full-employment economy where talented professionals have their pick of jobs, the majority of respondents to our survey said that their employer does nothing to demonstrate how valuable they are to the organization. Like the saying goes “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what’s expected.” So perhaps a modern update of the adage is “A person who feels appreciated will never ghost their employer.”
Since The Great Recession, there’s increased anxiety among employees about job security. Our survey finds that just 4 in 10 employees feel safe in their job. Job security is on the top ten reasons to look for a new one. Maybe this inspires a “do it to them before they do it to you” mentality among the ghosts.
Lack of clarity
Hand in hand with insecurity is lack of transparency. Survey participants over the years of our research have given employers low marks when it comes to clarity around compensation, succession plans, and career pathing. Questions around the future can inspire insecurity, and, along with that, decisions to flee without notice or explanation.
Candidate & Employee Experience
Is your company falling short during the hiring process? Or once the employee on-boards? Did your employer branding overpromise what the employment experience is like? Does the candidate or employee feel like they were sold a bill of goods? Forty percent of employees say the reality of working for their company did not match the hype of the employer marketing. Job seekers admit that their experience as a candidate influenced their perception of the employer and whether to consider working there. The hard truth is that workers and job seekers have options today – lots of options. And they’re calling the shots. Do we agree that ghosting should be one of those shots? Of course not. But our advice to all parties involved in the hiring and employment experience: don’t forget what has been said about karma.