Ghosting. Apparently, Charlize Theron did it to Sean Penn, while dumping him. Closer home, many of us may have experienced that surreal situation where romantic partners simply vanish without a word.
And now, this trend has also entered the lexicon of work behaviour. Ghosting, the art of quitting a job or failing to turn up at work at all after being offered a job. It's real, it's here and it has entered the PR business as well.
Rahul Rakesh, a senior communication specialist, gives the following recent examples of ghosting at work that he knows of:
Case 1: Dumping the employer
"After a long weekend, an executive doesn't turn up for work in the office. Text, WhatsApp, call in multiple attempts goes unanswered. After two days team received a message from the executive saying she won't be coming any longer. No reason was given and she is comfortable working in another consultancy!"
Case 2: Not turning up for a job
"An offer letter was extended to a lady. A managerial position. Just a day before joining she politely sends a text that she would not be joining and then complete silence. HR was in constant touch with the candidate so far and had last spoken to her 4-5 days before."
Case 3: Offering an unacceptable offer letter
Company A offers a joining letter to a candidate. They themselves have a 3 months' notice period and yet, ask the candidate to join immediately in 15 days. Company A is also not willing to buy out the candidate's notice period in the current organisation.
Case 4: Ghosting the PR consultancy
"Meeting with a prospective client happened. Since the formal signing of the contract is a long process, a letter of authorization was signed and a project was agreed and work started as it required immediate attention. When the event was over, parallel talks for formalising the contact continued. Multiple reiterations in the contract were made. After continuous to and fro between consultancy and company... eventually it never took off even after 4 months...it was sealed with a statement from the company that they have e not yet decided internally on PR communication!
The above real-life instances show how much 'ghosting', earlier used in a personal context has now entered the professional world.
Rakesh says while strictly not a Gen Z phenomenon, Gen Z does exhibit this tendency more readily, "Not because they are less interested in formal work etiquette but because this is a generation of instant gratification. They don't think twice before making the jump."
Komal Lath, founder, Tute Consult, agrees saying, "There have been many instances where people have committed to coming and not turned up or committed to joining (after a legit 2-month notice working in mid-level positions across different organizations) and not landed up. I would attribute this to either many options available or the Gen Z have a very different attitude to work. We now are very stringent, work on the people we want to meet and also hire basis attitude and not aptitude."
"Skills can be taught but responsibility and accountability not!", Komal Lath, Tute Consult.
Pranjal Dutta, CEO, Mavcomm Consulting, says, "This is an industry trend. There have been many instances where potential candidates have done the vanishing act. It certainly goes against all forms of decency and corporate etiquette."
"However, a big learning from such episodes has been to factor in a 1-2% for all potential hires as potential “no-shows.”
Dutta says, rather wryly, that. "This is the “Bro Culture” of the millennials. I would not say that they are less interested in any sort of formal etiquette but more in tune to working without any confines and set formats. Positive of such attitude is they bring great out of the box thinking, fresh perspective to their work and contribute to a happy work culture."