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    « Cool Job Alert: The Weinermobile Needs Drivers | Main | PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 354 - Sharing Kindness Inside and Outside the Workplace »
    Wednesday
    Jan232019

    In a hot labor market, even the best employers can get ghosted

    By now you have likely become familiar with the term 'ghosting' - the phenomenon whereby a friend, a romantic partner, and as we shall see in a moment, a job candidate or employee seems to disappear - and ceases to respond to any and all forms of outreach and communication. Phone calls are not answered, texts are not responded to, and pretty much no matter how you try to get in touch with the ghost, your efforts are unsuccessful.

    With a 10 year or so expansion of the labor force and a reduction in the unemployment rate, the ghosting phenomenon seems to be happening more and more in our little part of the world, the HR and Talent Management arena. Good, qualified candidates seem to disappear with more frequency, scheduled interviews are simply skipped (with no contact or explanation), and just about anyone who can pass a background check probably has more than just your job to consider. Even longer term and at least on the surface reliable and trustworthy employees are more likely, in this hot labor market, to just move on to another, hopefully better opportunity without so much as a 'Hey boss, I am thinking about making a move' or even a 'Hey boss, I would like to formally submit my two weeks notice.' And all of a sudden, they're gone. Leaving HR and hiring managers to have to wade back into the candidate pool, hopefully not to be ghosted by the next candidate of choice.

    And it is not just the corner store or local manufacturer that can be impacted by candidates or employees simply disappearing. It can happen in any of the most prominent and successful workplaces as well. Case in point, (Warning: a sports reference is coming) what has happened, according to a report in Deadspin, with the University of Alabama Assistant Football Coach Dan Enos and the circumstances behind Coach Enos' departure for new opportunities.

    Per the Deadspin piece:

    According to a report from The Athletic, the fear that (Head Coach Nick) Saban uses to manipulate the sport to his whims has also permeated throughout his current staff, which is why none of his coaches were brave enough to tell him that one of his assistants had left the program to take a similar job in Miami:

    “Where the F#$% is Dan?!?”

    Several of the staffers knew the answer to their boss’ question. Word had already spread that 50-year-old Enos was headed to Miami to become offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Manny Diaz. No one in the room wanted to be the one to break that news to Saban, even though Miami was primed to announce it in a couple hours.

    “Dan” is Dan Enos, Alabama’s quarterbacks coach this past season and reportedly the man who was set to take over as the program’s offensive coordinator, following Mike Locksley’s departure to be the head coach at Maryland. Enos decided instead that the Hurricanes were a better fit for his talents. Maybe it was this kind of treatment that convinced him to go to Miami.

    The details of how Saban found out do paint a great picture:

    One staffer scrambled to check if Enos was in his office. It was empty, save for a pencil on the desk. Maybe he’d already moved into Locksley’s old office, but that one was empty, too.

    “He moved out like the Colts,” said one person with knowledge of the matter, equating Enos’ departure to the middle-of-the-night exit by the old Baltimore NFL franchise to Indianapolis.

    They had no clue he had peaced out.

    Steve here - really entertaining and illustrative look at a reasonably prominent employee move from what has arguably been the most successful and famous "company" in its industry. Over the tenure of Head Coach Saban, Alabama football has been consistently among the best performing teams in the country, regularly competing and sometimes winning, National Championships. That one of Saban's assistants felt confident enough to leave for another opportunity at another university without, apparently, letting his boss Saban even know speaks volumes about the labor market today.

    Most of us would probably like to leave a job under positive circumstances. We might need a referral someday, we may even want to keep the door open to a return to the company we are leaving some time down the line. But to essentially pack up the office in the middle of the night and disappear? Well that takes more guts and confidence than we've all become accustomed to from employees. 

    I am 99% pro-employee in just about all workplace situations. So I kind of don't have too much of a problem with what Coach Enos apparently did to Saban and Alabama. But that 1% of doubt is saved for the realization that the job market can't possibly always be so good, and ghosting employers either as a candidate or a departing employee might not be the best strategy for the long term.

    That's it, I am out - have a great week!

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