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Ghosting in the Business Meaning and How to Prevent It

Let’s say you are an CEO, CTO, Product or Project Manager, or an ordinary Tech Lead in a sound and fully manned software development company. Everything goes smoothly — your designers create design for your applications, your developers write the code and develop new features and functions, your testers and QA people test the product and ensure its quality. You seems to be happy as the things go. But then one day one of your employees gets lost in a literal sense: disappears from the office, does not answer phone calls, emails, or text messages.

Congrats! Now you know what ghosting means.  And you now need to try to explain to your customer why the project schedule has to be shifted for several days or even weeks. You also are forced to find a replacement for your ‘ghost’.

As a result, you can forget about any profits and should be happy if you manage to break even.

How come that people ghost?

Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D., Director of Emory University’s Adult Outpatient Psychotherapy Program, believes that people who ghost are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t thinking about how it makes the other person feel.

More simply, people ghost because they:

a) have hurt somebody;

b) are hurt by somebody or something.

The ghosters feel bad about that and don’t want to show they aren’t okay. So they simply vanish.  

We agree with this opinion, absolutely; but we would also like to add one more reason that may be a case for ghosting:

c) people ghost because they have found new, better (in terms of pay, location, work schedule etc.) job but are too introvertive to discuss the issue with their supervisors.

What is behind ghosting?

Both clinical psychologists and those who are in-house psychoanalysts for businesses and corporations agree that the key underlying factor standing behind people’s ghosting – whether they ghost from their jobs or from personal circles – is lack of socialization. In fact, it seems to be absolutely true – though we all work in companies with many other people we all are actually, more or less, stranges in most cases. We come to our workplaces, get our daily tasks to fulfill, meet our colleagues during lunch or smoking breaks. At best, we can make a sort of “friends” with those co-workers who have similar hobbies, interests or alike.

Digitalization, that is penetration of technologies such as the Internet into everyday life, has even worsened the situation as people show a steady trend to reducing personal “in-flash” contacts and increasing the scale of their computer-, phone- or otherwise technology-assisted communication.

What ghosting mitigation or prevention actions does DIGIS take?

As mentioned above, bottom line of ghosting is insufficient or inadequate communication policy in a company, poor human relations management strategy and approaches, lack of the Management’s interest in everyday work life and needs of their employees.

At DIGIS, we all work hard to earn some money we then can change for things, products, and services we need or we like; but we never forget about our biggest value – our people. Since the very establishing in 2015 when we were Do IT Programming Solutions LLC, we have maintained understanding that we would not be able to make profits or satisfy our customers’ needs without ordinary employees’ input and contribution.  Since that time we grew from a small 5-person undertaking into a quite not small company employing over 80 IT specialists, and we have never faced any ghosting.

We are sure that’s because, despite of a manifold increase in our number, we have never lost the idea of building a family-like company. All our recruitment, hiring, and post-hiring activities and procedures are developed so as to make sure we know as much about our talents as possible. We have also developed a habit of arranging biweekly parties for our people in the office at which everyone could talk to everyone, discuss both work-related and personal things with coworkers and the Management informally, share own concerns or proposals, and, finally, have fun after a long and nasty working week.

We also care about our strong health and fitness, so we have found a place, funds, and time to put table-tennis gears in our office. We organize regular company-wide competitions and tournaments with valuable prizes for the participants. Every our employee can have a break during the workday and go play a game or two of table tennis to relax and rest from work-related issues.

We arrange regular, corporate parties out of the office and, if possible, out of the city on fresh air, for example – the Carpathian Mountains, the South Buh rapids, where we can test our strength and support from our people.

All these events are targeted to make us closer to each other, to enhance our team-building skills and abilities, and, in the light of the subject of this post, to prevent ghosting cases in our company.

Summing up, we would like to advise the companies to be more attentive to their employees’ needs, establish an adequate HRM and talent retention program, hire true professionals for their HR departments, and, of course, do not take their employees’ efforts for granted.


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