How to Deal with Employee Ghosting

What is employee ghosting? Well, ghosting is mostly associated with the dating world. Quite simply, it involves one party falling off the face of the planet. Failing to respond to phone calls, text messages, etc – simply doing a disappearing act. Ghosting is not confined to the dating world, in fact, it can happen in all walks of life. A friend could suddenly stop responding to messages without any known reason or you may even find that some recruiters decide to stop responding to you. It also happens in the workplace. An employee might fail to turn up to work and might quit without providing any notice of their intentions or they may not even show up on their first day. 

Why does this happen and what can you do about it?

Employee Ghosting in the Modern World

The main reason people ghost is that they want to avoid having an awkward conversation. In the dating world, they want to avoid the ‘it’s not you, it’s me conversation’ and in the workplace, they don’t want to have to explain why they want to resign or why they don’t want to come in in the first place. Ghosting is becoming more prominent due to low unemployment rates and the wealth of job opportunities there are. Back in the day, people had limited job offers, so they would never dream of ‘ghosting’ an employer. The nature of employment references has also changed. These days, employers don’t have any obligation to provide a detailed reference. Therefore, employees don’t need a good reference, they just need dates of employment. In short, they can leave under a cloud, and won’t really be affected.

How to Prevent Employee Ghosting

It takes around 27.5 days and £3,000 to recruit a new employee so it is worth keeping hold of your good workers. There are various steps you can take to avoid employee ghosting. If an employee ghosts you, there is a lack of respect, or they feel intimidated and uncomfortable to speak to you. It is, therefore, important that you build good relationships with your employees. This includes undertaking regular performance reviews, checking in with them during one-to-one meetings, and asking for feedback. In this way, you can deal with any potential issues before the employee decides to do a disappearing act.

If you find that candidates are not even attending for the first day, you should look at reviewing your onboarding process. Are you reaching out to them prior to them starting? Are you ensuring they are happy with the information they are received and comfortable about the arrangements? If not, you may find that candidates are feeling anxious and deciding not to turn up, while avoiding any uncomfortable conversations by ghosting you.

Employee ghosting is never comfortable for either party, so no one is really doing it lightly. They are doing it because there are aspects, they don’t feel happy with, and they don’t feel comfortable communicating these. They would rather ignore their phone for a few weeks than just speaking about their issues. Therefore, it is so important to ask for regular feedback and check in on your employees before they start and on an ongoing basis.

If you are looking for advice on employee relations and helping avoid ‘ghosting’ employees, or have any other question relating to HR advice and guidance then you can contact us at or by calling 01787 695084