“Ghosting” is a term commonly used in the dating world when a person suddenly disappears without explanation. No email, text or call. The only sign that they are alive is evident in their activity through social media. For the ghostee, it leaves them feeling ignored, and angry as if they were a meaningless transaction. Ghosting has transitioned into the workplace as a new type of break-up technique which is becoming more common in offices across the country.
Ghosting is creeping into companies in a very subversive way. It is evident in the number of no-shows for job interviews, the lack of response to resume submissions, email or calls. It can also happen when the person you’ve hired fails to show up for the first day on the job. This behavior is not limited to just new hires. It could likely extend into current employees as well. According to the Addison, while 72% of employees say they are satisfied in their current position, 60% are still looking for another job. So, it’s possible for your current team to ghost you if there is a better opportunity. With the climate in the workforce, low unemployment rate does play into this, but so does the influence of management and leadership.
As a leader you should be aware of this phenomenon which is becoming a growing trend within your current team or future hires. Below are a few suggestions that may reduce ghosting and increase the retention of your employees by way of your team’s connection.
Respect is a cornerstone principle to effective leadership. It’s not given, its earned. You build respect in how you listen, communicate and take action. Consistent team discussions and taking action about your employee’s concerns allows them to trust your judgment and increases loyalty.
Use Emotional Intelligence
As humans, we are emotional beings. As a matter of fact, 70% of our decisions are based on emotional factors and only 30% on rational factors. Those stats are the reason why it’s important to ground yourself in the greater connection of human behavior. As you are able to recognize and understand emotions your skill at using this awareness to manage yourself and influence your relationship with others (Dan Goleman) is tremendous. This directly impacts your ability to connect with others in a more meaningful way.
Communication style can affect how information is conveyed. As a leader, what you say may not always be understandable to your team. Be sure your employees know what is expected of them at work. Clarity around their purpose will ignite their productivity and drive employee engagement. Be transparent with new hires and be open about their role and responsibilities.
Delivering Consistent Feedback
Almost everyone is running in the fast lane with a full load of tasks and responsibilities. A top priority should be the delivery of consistent feedback to employees. Even your best employees will check out if you don’t take the time to sit down and share their progress with them. These meetings give the employee opportunities for growth and development. If there are concerns, they need to be addressed and treated with care.
Motivation and Recognition
Giving recognition is vital to engagement. Now how you give it can determine which way you influence your employee. Find out what motivates them and inspires them to try harder. To do this, it requires you to get to know your team below the waterline and learn more about their internal and external motivators. As you ask questions, watch and listen, you will discover how they like to be recognized. It’s very powerful when you listen and acknowledge your employee in a way that is most meaningful to them.
Know Your Blind Spots
Everyone has a blind spot … or two. They are thoughts, behaviors, feelings, values or even actions that may be invisible to us but are felt and seen by those around us. Often times, these blind spots can inadvertently tip the scale of employee effort the opposite direction of what we intended. Being self-aware can expand our view and help us remain open to understanding other perspectives.
The reasons for ghosting are emotionally complex. According to career coach Roy Cohen, this coping mechanism is commonly associated with a sense of failure and shame about work. It’s the leader’s responsibility to build a caring relationship that cultivates trust and is furthered by fostering effective communication. A leader differentiates themselves and the organization by how they show up. It’s the investment they make in others that will cause an employee to give a second thought to ghosting.
Ghosting: An unhealthy coping mechanism that is both real and present in the workforce. Robin Bush