Red Flags That an Employee May Be Moving On
Every employer knows the hiring process can be a nightmare. Sorting through the various applicants is an incredibly time-consuming task and there’s no guarantee that you won’t wind up getting burned after hiring a new employee. And that’s not even taking into account the financial impact of turnover and training costs!
You should try to keep good employees whenever you can. But sometimes, those good employees quit. If you aren’t paying attention, a situation like that can catch you unaware and leave you in a very tight spot. If you know the warning signs to look for, you can spot employees who are thinking about quitting before they’ve even made up their minds.
You can spot life-altering change by engaging on a personal level with your employees. Ask them how they are doing, take an interest in their families and genuinely empathize with them in their times of need.
The birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, marriage, divorce and a sudden illness requiring on-going medical treatment are all big life changes that could alter one’s career. These all present opportunities to sit down with the employee and engage him or her in a conversation about future work plans. Failing to do so could find you scrambling to fill a big, unexpected vacancy.
Try giving them some time off or even a lightened workload for a short period. If they have the opportunity to de-stress and take care of what’s happening in their lives off the clock, chances are they’ll be less prone to make rash decisions about their careers.
Work Becomes Sloppy
An occasional slip-up could mean nothing. What should concern you are prolonged lapses in quality or efficiency in a consistent employees work.
This could be a sign the employee has grown tired of their work and disengaged from the company.
Changes in Work Hours
When a model employee that has always given plenty of notice when having to leave early or arrive late or even the need to request days off starts doing the direct opposite you should be concerned.
Abnormal time-off requests could also be a symptom of trying to use up any remaining paid-time-off before abandoning ship.
Less Interaction with Co-workers
If an employee appears to be distancing himself or herself from co-workers, it could be a sign the person’s already checked out and decided there’s no need to continue to feed personal or work relationships.
If your employees begin to “give up” on their job, it will manifest itself in many ways – but the most noticeable will be in their attitudes and work ethic. If you notice a formerly chipper and productive member of your staff no longer engages with you or other employees, no longer provides spontaneous input, and lets his or her work quality slip, there’s a good chance this employee is sliding down the slippery slope into apathy. Sometimes this apathy can be brought on by personal stress, but sometimes it’s brought on by a change at the company or even a change in the employee’s expectations.
It may be a good idea to give these types of employee something new to do. By including them on different types of projects or shifting them to other departments, you may be able to reinvigorate their commitment to the company.
Complains More than Usual
If a once happy employee suddenly develops a surly personality and begins complaining about co-workers, this is a not-so-subtle hint that something’s amiss.
This is troubling for two reasons:
It shows that the employee has become disenchanted with his or her work — or the employer itself, and
His or her grumblings could lead other employees to become malcontents.
If your employees are actually telling you and others how unhappy they are in their jobs, there’s a good chance they’re ready to quit. Generally, when these sorts of feeling arise, employees try to keep them to themselves. They don’t want to be singled out and they don’t want others to see them as “whiners.”
However, as these feelings of unhappiness grow, they get harder and harder to hide giving you the opportunity to address the situation with the employee and look for ways to resolve the situation.
If an employee who usually dresses casual suddenly starts wearing a tie a few times a week, it’s a warning sign that something may be up. It’s possible they just want to change things up, but it’s far more likely they’re dressing up to interview elsewhere during lunch hour or break periods.
While it’s in your best interest to keep good employees when you can, letting employees go when they become a liability is also in your best interest. If you notice any of these habits, the first step should always be to engage them. Opening a dialogue may be all it takes to win an excellent employee over once again. However, if you discover an employee really is intent on quitting, asking them to leave sooner than later may be the best option. This will allow you to minimize conflict and plan for their replacement without disrupting your company’s overall workflow.