MHR's HR expert interviewed by BBC World TV on ghosting in the workplace

Emma Bullen featured on Talk Business programme


Our HR expert Emma Bullen was interviewed live to discuss the problem of ghosting in the workplace on Talk Business, a TV business programme which is broadcast globally each week day on BBC World TV. It reached an audience of 99 million.

Read all about the rise in workplace ghosting in our previous news by visiting this page, or alternatively watch the news segment or read the transcript below:

Workplace Ghosting BBC Interview

Watch Emma Bullen of MHR discuss ghosting in the workplace on the BBC in this video:

Ghosting Video Transcript

Interviewer (BBC)

Is it ever acceptable to vanish from a job without warning or explanation? It's called 'ghosting' and is the act of cutting communication without explanation. And according to America's central bank, the U.S. Federal Reserve, it is on the rise. So why are more and more people doing it?

 

Let's find out. Emma Bullen is from human resource firm, MHR... Good to have you with us Emma. So Ghosting I've been saying is about, you know, like leaving a job but without telling the bosses, right? But it's more than that isn't it?

 

Emma (MHR)

Yeah absolutely, it can be job applicants not turning up to an interview - which is probably the most common example.

 

Interviewer (BBC)

So they apply for a job, they get an interview... no show.

 

Emma (MHR)

No. And also successful job applicants not arriving on their first day of work which can be really devastating to small firms especially.

 

Interviewer (BBC)

So what's the change? I mean I'd never even heard of this until last year?

It’s sort of a buzzword because ghosting, doesn't it actually stems from the dating world?

 

Emma (MHR)

Yeah it's a concept that originated in the dating world to describe a situation where one party to the dating relationship would, without warning, cut all communication with the other person.

 

Interviewer (BBC)

Okay, wow, so what's behind it do you think? It's just my first thoughts, sorry, I always call them the 'millennial upstarts', is it the new generation?

 

Emma (MHR)

Although predominantly it's a millennial trend, we have seen it in other generations as well but probably not to the same extent. I think the biggest contributing factor is the low unemployment rate at the moment. We are operating in a tight labour market and it does mean that employees and job seekers are calling the shots.

 

Interviewer (BBC)

They've got the pick, if you will. So what does a company, an organization do? Because I'm wondering if, you know, I can't leave because I've got a three month obligation unfortunately, so, I mean, I if you leave the company could sue you, couldn't they?

 

Emma (MHR)

They might do but they've got to consider whether it's really worth doing that and for a lot of small organisations it just won't be worth the cost to do that. So, there's not much you can do when it happens. It's more in the preventative measures really.

 

Interviewer (BBC)

So what are they?

 

Emma (MHR)

Communication for me is the key one really. And keep communication open with that person throughout the recruitment process, especially during the time when they're serving their notice with their previous employer. Because we see that's a big cooling off period.

 

Interviewer (BBC)

Right.

 

Emma (MHR)

So engaging in the two way communication at that stage is crucial really.

 

Interviewer (BBC)

So are you on the phone going, “Have you resigned yet?!" "When are you coming?"

 

Emma (MHR)

Not quite to that extent but just updates from what's going on in the office perhaps. And I think the two way communication makes it less acceptable for them to then cut ties without any warning.

 

Interviewer (BBC)

But this is costly, right? Surely, you know, I mean my wifi, people all over, that can be a three/four month process. Companies will be losing money on this.

 

Emma (MHR)

Absolutely it's a huge waste of time and resource for organizations, running a recruitment campaign is costly as you say. And if you are expecting someone to then take up their new role and they don't arrive, if it's a key operational role for that business it can really be devastating to productivity. And then the knock-on effect for the rest of the workforce that need to pick up the slack.

 

Interviewer (BBC)

Well I know it certainly happens in the US because the Federal Reserve mentioned it last year that it's proving a big problem. Talking of the US you and I right now, you didn't know this but we’re going to go to Wall Street and take a look at the markets!

 

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