How to Deal with Employee Ghosting

Employee ghosting is a scary situation. It’s spooky because it’s so awkward and strange. If you haven’t heard about employee ghosting, you’re certainly not alone. Although, it’s a trend which appears like it’s on the rise. Basically, this is a workplace phenomenon born from personal relationships in this day and age or IRL. (That’s In Real Life — BTW or By the Way.) And, it’s possible you might just face this particular scenario. So, it’s best to err on the side of caution and take proactive measures to limit the fallout.

Employee Ghosting Explained

Before we get to how to deal with it, let’s first explain employee ghosting. It’s simply when an established team member, a new employee, or a fresh hire doesn’t show up, without notice or any forewarning. It’s actually a practice that’s been present in the dating world for quite some time. One person simply up and disappears, without any indication. Poof. All communications are cut off, all of a sudden.

In fields ranging from food service to finance, recruiters and hiring managers say a tightening job market and a sustained labor shortage have contributed to a surge in professionals abruptly cutting off contact and turning silent–the type of behavior more often associated with online dating than office life. —

This has found its way into the professional workplace. And, it raises a number of concerns. Of course, the first is being a person short. Then, there’s the matter of reconciling or trying to make sense of a nonsensical move. Moreover, it makes your team members wonder just what the ghost knows they don’t yet know themselves. In other words, just what reason could cause a person to up and disappear?

How to Deal with Employee Ghosting

Now, let’s get to dealing with employee ghosting. After all, if it does happen, you certainly don’t want to be caught totally off guard. Here are some helpful suggestions for how to deal with employee ghosting:

  • Create a backup plan. At some point, you’re going to deal with a sudden change that comes out of nowhere. So, it’s best to have a plan in-place. Get with one or more team members and create a backup plan that’s reasonable and actionable so it can be implemented, if necessary.
  • Be prepared to reward. Of course, if someone doesn’t show up, someone else will have to shoulder the load. Which means they’ll have to work more. Make it worthwhile by rewarding them appropriately. A gift card, an extra paid day off, or a bigger bonus.
  • Create a high trust culture. When employees call in sick or they are late, handle this professionally and according to your policy with consistency, but don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill. The same is true with employee mistakes. Be careful to react negatively or to belittle an employee who has made an honest mistake because these negative acts cause employees to not disclose the truth and hide their mistakes … even not showing up for work for fear of retribution. A safe and healthy work environment with open communication helps to foster high trust in the work place.
  • Formulate a way forward. You can’t just rely on a temporary stop-gap solution because it isn’t tenable. You’ll need to formulate a plan for how to transition and proceed in a way that isn’t too interruptive.
  • Stay calm and breathe deep. It’s an unfortunate situation and an uncomfortable one, just like when you have to tell your employees you’ve fired someone. But, you can make it past the setback. Start by remaining calm. Take a deep breath and handle it coolly.

Have you experienced this strange trend? How do you deal with it? Or, what other suggestions do you have? Please share your thoughts by commenting!

Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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