More often than not, employees who quit leave a trail of breadcrumbs leading up to their departure. Some of the breadcrumbs are obvious: frequent absences, constant complaining, and changes in attitude. Other breadcrumbs, however, are not as obvious and can leave even the most observant manager blindsided when an employee submits their two weeks’ notice.
Be on the lookout for these four warning signs that one of your employees may be getting ready to jump ship.
1. Loss of interest in work
Is your normally gung-ho employee less interested in their work these days? Perhaps they’ve stopped contributing in meetings, sharing feedback on upcoming projects, or engaging with fellow coworkers. It could also be that the work is no longer challenging and/or fulfilling their professional goals. Either way, it’s a sign that they could be looking for greener pastures.
2. Experiencing major life changes
Life has no pause button—people get married, start families, have aging parents to care for, etc. These life events can impact whether an employee decides to stay or leave your company. For instance, having a child may force an employee to look for another job that offers flexible work hours and better health benefits. A newly married employee may want to look for work closer to home after relocating to be with their spouse.
3. Uneasiness discussing long-term projects or deadlines
An employee who has one foot out the door may be noncommittal, vague, and even uncomfortable when discussing their involvement and role in long-term projects. That’s because they know the greater investment they have in a project, the greater the fallout (and possibly negative reflection on them) if and when they do decide to leave.
4. Changes in productivity
Be on the lookout for changes in employee productivity levels. If you see an employee’s productivity suddenly tank (e.g. missing deadlines, doing the bare minimum), it could be a sign that they’re no longer invested in the job and looking to make an exit. On the other hand, an employee’s productivity that unusually spikes (e.g. submitting work well ahead of time), could indicate that they’re trying to get their plate free and clear before checking out.
How to get employees to stay
The answer is simple: check in with your employees. We’re not talking about sitting down once a year at the annual performance review. But check in with employees weekly, if not daily. Having a good pulse on your workforce will give you a better understanding of who, if anyone, is on the verge of leaving and allow you to take preventative measures to get them to stay.
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