Ghosting in the Professional World

The Unspoken Phenomenon in the Office

“Ghosting”—the act of cutting off all communication without explanation—isn’t confined to the realm of romantic relationships anymore. It’s increasingly showing up in the professional landscape, leaving a trail of bewildered colleagues and recruiters in its wake. As it turns out, the digital age’s convenience of ignoring someone has made its way into workplaces across the world. But what are the ramifications of this rising trend, and why should we care?

The Data Says It All

According to a 2019 LinkedIn report, 93% of job seekers reported that they had either ghosted a prospective employer or knew someone who had. These are not mere isolated incidents but an emergent pattern affecting both job seekers and employers. In a workplace ethics study conducted by Harvard Business Review in 2021, 47% of recruiters indicated that they had been ghosted by candidates after extending job offers.

Ethical Reckoning: When Morality Is at Stake

Ethically, professional ghosting wreaks havoc. It suggests a dramatic erosion of workplace decency and respect. You don’t need to be a moral philosopher to understand that reneging on a commitment, whether explicit or implied, is fundamentally unethical. Sarah Green Carmichael, editor of Harvard Business Review, warned, “An erosion of trust in any ecosystem eventually erodes the ecosystem itself.”

More Than Just Hurt Feelings: The Psychological Toll

Ghosting doesn’t just complicate professional interactions; it inflicts psychological trauma on those left hanging. A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2018 established that ghosting induces symptoms akin to social ostracism, causing increased levels of stress and anxiety in those affected.

The Soul-Crushing Impact

What is most damaging about this trend isn’t just the ethical degradation but the assault on the human soul. For those ghosted, the psychological toll exacerbates feelings of worthlessness and diminishes self-esteem. As psychiatrist Dr. Sue Varma puts it, “Ghosting creates a sense of emotional abandonment, the effects of which can be long-lasting.”

A Threat to Corporate Health

The phenomenon also poses severe threats to organizational well-being. A 2020 report in the Journal of Business Ethics cites that organizations experiencing high levels of internal ghosting showed a marked decline in employee morale and a resultant increase in turnover.

Corporate Response: The Right Way Forward

Some companies are fighting back against the ghosting epidemic by nurturing a culture of transparency and open dialogue. Best practices shared in the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2021 report include measures like formal communication protocols and psychological safety nets.

Ending the Silence: No Excuse for Ghosting

The discourse around professional ghosting needs to shift from mere watercooler talk to a serious, boardroom-level conversation. Companies must acknowledge this phenomenon, analyze its root causes, and implement robust measures to mitigate its impact. Author and workplace expert Adam Grant argues, “In a professional setting, silence isn’t just disrespectful; it’s disruptive.”

The Time to Act Is Now

Addressing the problem of ghosting in the professional world isn’t just a matter of ethics; it’s a business imperative. The health of our work environments depends on meaningful interactions, built on trust and mutual respect. Let’s not let the convenience of digital evasion erode the very fabric of professional life.

Dennis Ivanov

A Talent Acquisition Architect and an advisor to Executive Leadership on Talent Acquisition strategies. From start-ups to global organizations, Dennis excels in designing impactful solutions that optimize talent acquisition and HR processes. With a competitive spirit and strong communication skills, he fosters continuous improvement and champions diversity and inclusion.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button