Is an Employee About to Ghost Their Job? Expert Shares Telltale Signs

The pandemic fatigue, tense geopolitical situation, and increasing professional burnout might lead to employees ghosting their employers. Signs that an employee might potentially ghost their job include increased hostility towards the employer and casual disappearances for short periods.

August 17, 2022

Last year’s study shows that around 28% of employees admit to having ghosted their employer, in comparison to 19% in 2020. The reasons for the growing numbers vary from talent shortage in the market to emotional state due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Although ghosting—a complete cutoff of all communication without any explanation—occurs in various kinds of relationships, the situation might be especially jarring for remote team employers, who might find it harder to grasp the employee’s mental state.

“Many of us suffer from professional burnout or post-pandemic fatigue, which compromise our work motivation and might lead to ghosting at some point,” said Diana Blažaitienė, founder of Soprana Personnel International, a recruitment and personnel rent solutions agency. “New hires also might feel they lack the confidence to deal with the task load and feel the fear for failure, therefore they might see disappearance from work as a way to resolve these issues.”

The expert has shared several telltale signs that the employee is about to ghost the workplace.

Increased dissatisfaction in a professional setting

Over the years of working with remote teams, Ms. Blažaitienė has noticed that employees might ghost the employer when they start showing decreased motivation with tasks at hand, unwillingness to engage in communication, reclusion, or apathy toward the future with the company.

“When a person starts demonstrating obvious dissatisfaction with their work or colleagues, this might be a sign that they no longer feel a connection with the employer or the workplace and experience a mental block towards their professional life,” Ms. Blažaitienė said.

In this case, the expert recommends employers take time to observe their employees’ moods and mental state, how they cope with stressful events, and whether they are more apathetic or agitated. The employer also should invite teams for regular one-on-one chats or even offer to see a specialist to help them resolve underlying issues if any.

Remote employee misses work unexpectedly

Ms. Blažaitienė herself had a firsthand encounter with employee ghosting. After a year of working with the company on a contractual basis, the company’s project coordinator suddenly disappeared. For an entire month, the expert couldn’t get in touch with him or his family members and therefore was forced to terminate their employment. After a while, the former employee got in touch with her, stating emotional breakdown as the reason for ghosting.

“This experience has really shaken and forced me to reevaluate all employment processes. For one, I understood the need to check former employer’s references and ask the candidate to provide several contacts who could recommend them,” she added. “If the company operates on a remote basis, regular check-ups through video calls is a must at least several times a week to be on the same page workload-wise and get a good grasp about any potential mood changes within the team.”

After the personal experience, Ms. Blažaitienė advises employers not to take it lightly if an employee suddenly disappears for even a day and try to reach them via phone or email. It could be a signal that they might potentially ghost them for good.