Ghosting in the workplace

Date: Monday, 28th January, 2019

So what is “ghosting”?

It first appeared as a term in the online dating world, meaning when one partner suddenly goes silent on their date, by blocking their phone number or not responding to any messages after a period of communication or a couple of dates.

However, this has seemed to have crept into the realm of work and a recent article in The Telegraph reported that an increasing number of employees are leaving work and never coming back and without a formal resignation or explanation.

As an employer this leaves you in an awkward situation of not knowing whether you need to recruit a new employee or whether the missing person may just reappear with a good explanation!

In a report published last year by a well known HR provider, they said they had received a 21% increase in calls to their advice line from employers regarding employees leaving a job without handing in their notice and new starters not turning up for their first day.

From an employment perspective there is very little an employer can do stop this growing trend.  Employers are not required to pay any employee for any unauthorised absence and after making reasonable efforts to contact the employee, they will be able to terminate their employment.  Technically the employee will be in breach of contract, but usually there is no need for an employer to track them down, unless they have failed to return expensive company property, confidential documents or breached post-termination restrictions.

If you want employees to follow the right procedure when resigning, it might be helpful to show that there are never any hard feelings, by providing a good luck card or a “thank you”, this may pave the way for other employees who are thinking of leaving to do so in an open and honest way. 

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