5 Signs One of Your Employees is About to Quit

April 6, 2016 · 4 min read


No company likes to deal with employee turnover. And there's one good reason for that – hiring and training new employees is expensive. Employee replacement costs can reach as high as 50-60 percent of the employee’s annual salary. However, being able to recognize the warning signs of an employee who has mentally resigned (and is possibly pursuing other career opportunities) may help you retain them through early intervention.

1) They’re non-committal

Do you have an employee who is talking less about long-term commitments within the company? Are they mentioning other interests they’re pursuing? Are they withdrawing themselves from projects that will span several weeks? It could be that they don’t intend to be around for the completion of the project.

2) They’re less proactive

Most happy employees will find their groove and stay there. They’ll come and go at the same time each day. They’ll arrange their tasks in the same way. They’ll ask for feedback frequently and make forward-thinking comments at meetings. If employees are keeping to themselves or dodging you, this behavior might be a red flag. Look for a distinct loss of ambition and a reduction of productivity, especially from your formerly star employees.

3) They’re burdened with personal issues

A divorce, the death of a loved one or the birth of a child can create complex situations in anyone’s life. If one of your employees is pre-occupied with issues in their personal life, they may struggle with keeping their minds in their work during business hours. They may consider quitting to handle their personal obligations or circumstances may force them to leave your employ.

You may be able to avoid losing a valued employee by offering a more flexible work schedule or diverting certain projects as they work their way through whatever else is going on in their life. In addition, many states have laws allowing employees’ bereavement leave, or kin-care leave (among others) that may offer employees needed time off in these situations.

4) They’re requesting more time off

Employees who are usually punctual and tied to the office probably don’t request schedule changes very often. If this happens out of the blue or on numerous occasions, the employee may be asking for the time off to attend interviews with other companies. Schedule modifications to free-up mornings, especially with short notice, could be a sign that your employee is investigating other options. Of course, it could also mean that they are burdened with personal issues like those mentioned above.

5) Their performance is suffering

If you can generally rely on an employee to maintain a high standard of work, a sudden drop in performance can be alarming. If the employee is coming in late, going home early and mentally checking out after lunch, they’re probably not as invested in their position as they once were. This is a common sign of burn out. When an employee is burnt out enough, he or she may want a change of scenery – even if this means working in a new office or for a new boss.

You won’t be able to retain every employee who wants to leave. Sometimes, circumstances outside of your control will cause employees to need to move to the other side of the country, take time off from working altogether, or pursue another career path. An employee may be offered another opportunity that you are just not in a position to match. In these cases, it’s best to thank them for their service and wish them well.

This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.

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By Tess Pajaron