How to Tell When a Valuable Employee is About to Quit

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How to Tell When a Valuable Employee is About to Quit (and What to Do About It)

Recognizing when a valuable team member is about to quit could help you craft a solution before it is too late.

Workforce retention is a big deal.  As we have discussed before, the cost, time, and energy it takes to replace talent and onboard a new employee makes it worth understanding when someone is eyeing the door.  Losing an employee blunts morale, raises questions, and shifts your company culture if your business is small.  How do you know when someone is heading for the exit?

Know the signs of employee discontent

If you know your workforce, the chances are good you already have a feeling about which employees are likely to be looking elsewhere.  But sometimes notice comes out of the blue.  Consider these signs that could signal an employee on the move:

  • Talking the talk: Talking about quitting is not as unusual as it might sound.  Employees who grumble and grouse about their job will eventually make good on the threat.  It is your decision about whether your company culture has room for these folks—or if your business is better off with an employee who is a better fit.  If the employee leaving would be a hard loss for the firm, talk the talk with them, find out the source of their discontent, and whether your company has the resources to respond to the problem.
  • Disengaged: We talked earlier about the value of   High engagement generally signals a satisfied employee.  When employee engagement drops off—there is usually a reason.  Determine if you have a solution that fits your talent and your company.
  • Absence: Whether using up vacation time or scheduling interviews during the workday, unexplained or frequent absences can signal an exit.
  • Slowed productivity: Lack of interest in longer-term projects or commitments could mean your employee does not want to engage in responsibilities they may not be around to finish.
  • Someone knows: If you do not know that an employee is considering a job change, someone in the company does.  Engagement surveys or co-worker comments often identify individuals on the move.
  • Life change: Employees transitioning through a significant life change such as divorce, marriage, pregnancy, illness, or care of relatives are often challenged by overwhelming stress that may impact their focus on the job.

By identifying valuable talent before they give their notice, you have an opportunity to change the conversation.

Can you work it out?

Valuable talent is worth keeping on board.  Increase retention and reduce turnover by finding out about the issues in play.  Before you have the conversation, consider the real cost of replacing the individual and creative ways to approach engagement including:

  • Address engagement perks and feedback
  • Revise annual review methods
  • Offer better opportunity for advancement
  • Increase flexibility
  • Consolidate working hours
  • Provide additional training or certification
  • Job shift or share
  • Consider the cost of a raise versus the cost of a new hire
  • Is management a root cause?

Retention depends on recognizing the unique value of each employee in terms of productivity, cost to hire, cost to lose, team loss, and loss of institutional memory.  While salary is always an issue, it is not usually the driver of job separation.  Issues such as lack of flexibility, benefits, and job challenge rank high for talent flight risks.

Change is good—except when it isn’t.  Use engagement strategies to retain talent and keep productivity and employee morale high. And when you have questions about high quality recruiting or back office software, we hope you will contact us at Brightmove.



1 Comment

  1. Demetria Lee Dortch on October 19, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    That is so true . Alot of jobs lose good working people over the slightest miss communication. Answering if a person feels miss used when they have put time an energy into a job that treats them like a number their bound to leave.

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