Friday, November 6, 2015

7 Signs an Employee is About to Quit

It is important to be proactive when you believe an employee is going to quit.


Jack has worked at his current position for more than five years. Today, Jack walked into his supervisor’s office and gave his notice that he will be leaving his current position in two weeks. His supervisor was very surprised at the news. Jack is an important part of what the company does and his leaving is going to affect the company in a negative way. Jack’s supervisor knows that it will take some time to replace him and then even longer to train the new hire. This will have a negative impact on the company for the next few months . . . at least! Unfortunately, Jack’s supervisor did not recognize the warning signs of Jack’s intent to find a new job. If he had, this situation could have been averted or prepared for.

Employee retention is an ongoing effort of every organization. They want to keep the best talent and the brightest employees. However, companies do recognize that they are not going to be able to keep everybody. When an employee does intend to leave, there are some signs that could give a company some awareness of that intention, before the employee actually quits.

  1. Sloppy Work Habits – the best employees’ are consistent and complete high quality work on time. An occasional slip-up could mean nothing, but the company should begin to have concerns when prolonged lapses in quality or efficiency begin to happen. This could be an indication that the employee has grown tired of their work and has become disengaged from the company.
  2. Attendance – Employees typically maintain the same schedule when they arrive to work and when they leave. If an employee begins to arrive to work earlier than usual or leave earlier than usual on a regular basis and begin taking random days off, this could be a warning sign that they are taking time out of their day to attend interviews. Taking random days off could also be a sign that the employee is trying to use up any remaining paid-time-off before quitting.
  3. Appearance – Employees will usually wear the same type of clothes to work every day. If the organization does not require employees to wear a tie and an employee suddenly begins to wear one, then the employee should take notice. Does the day the employee upgraded their wardrobe also coincide with a day they slightly adjusted their schedule?
  4. Isolation – You don’t want to jump to conclusions, but an employee who takes frequent trips away from his or her desk to seek solitude might be a sign that they are fielding calls from potential employers. It could also be a sign that they are dealing with a personal issue that is conflicting with work.
  5. Life Changes – Birth of a child, loss of a loved one, marriage, divorce, sudden illness requiring on-going medical treatment are all life changes that could alter and employees’ career. These changes offer an opportunity to the employer to have a meeting with the employee to discuss future work plans. Failing to do so could end in the company scrambling to fill a big and unexpected vacancy.
  6. Out-of-Character Complaining – Happy workers usually don’t make their negative feelings known to other workers. If an employee develops a surly personality and begins complaining about other co-workers or processes, this could be a hint that something is not right. This shows that the employee has become disenchanted with his or her work and the grumblings could have an effect on other employees’ attitudes.
  7. Distancing – If an employee appears to separating or distancing him or herself from co-workers, this could be an indication that the employee has begun disconnecting from fellow co-workers in anticipation of their imminent leave. This type of behavior is also noticeable during meetings where the employee appears disengaged.


In order for a company to keep the best talent and brightest employees, its supervisors need to be able to recognize when an employee is preparing to quit. If a supervisor has cause to think a valuable employee might be on their way out, the correct course of action would be to have a meeting with the employee to discuss the supervisor’s concerns. If the employee does intend to leave, then the company can begin the hiring process. This meeting might also be an opportunity for the company to make some changes in pay, benefits, work schedule, etc. in order to keep the valued employee.

If this article was helpful, you may also want to read about employee burnout at: http://bit.ly/1PCFgd7


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