Signs an employee is about to quit

Worried employees are going to quit? Here are the signs to watch for and surprising tips to keep them around.

Meryl D’Sa-Wilson

Published on 

July 27, 2022

Updated on 

Time to Read

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Hiring new employees can be costly – from the time spent finding the right replacement to bringing them up to speed on your organization’s mission. In fact, replacing a single employee can cost a whopping 1.5 to 2 times the employee’s annual salary

Want to save some money? Let’s cover how to get your employees to stay longer.

In this post, we’ll go over some crucial signs of an employee quitting and what you can do to retain them. 

Employees will quit; it’s natural

According to a 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, an employee stays at a job for a median of 4.1 years. It is no secret that workers will eventually leave for opportunities that align better with their goals and needs. For some, it may be financial; for others, career growth. 

This paired with the recent cultural shift of the Great Resignation, we’ve seen over 47.4 million workers quit voluntarily for better opportunities. Many left because of low pay, while others wanted more hours.

And they are willing to hop from one job to another to get what they want. The common theme seems to indicate something lacking in their existing positions.

Paying attention to certain signs can help managers and companies identify employees at risk of quitting. They can then step in and help remedy the situation while also working on long-term initiatives.

The clues and tell-tale signs an employee is going to quit

So, how can HR and management identify when an employee is planning to leave? Research suggests there are a few key tell-tale signs that managers should watch for. 

Of course, exhibiting one or two of these signs doesn’t always mean an employee is preparing to quit. But it is a good idea to pay attention to your employees and their continued contributions. This way, if something is amiss, you can step in and try to retain top talent before it’s too late.

Engagement with work

Employees getting ready to move may slowly start to disengage from their current tasks. They may do this because they feel undervalued or simply to prepare for their next opportunity. Look for these signs:

  • Decrease in productivity
  • Exhibiting less effort, enthusiasm, and motivation
  • Less willing to commit to long-term timelines or projects
  • Expressed dissatisfaction with the job
  • Taking more personal days or time
  • Uninterested in promotion or advancement
  • Fewer contributions during meetings
  • Expressed feelings of being overworked and/or unsupported
  • Limited career advancement

Relations with others

Another common reason why employees quit is because of difficult or conflicting relationships with other team members or managers. They are gradually less receptive to instructions or praise and may even back out of meetings or group projects. Look for these signs:

  • Less receptive to management instructions
  • Not as interested in pleasing their supervisor
  • Shows a lesser interest in working with others
  • Conflict with others
  • Subtle changes in attitude; shows signs of negativity
  • Affected by work friends jumping ship

External events

Now, not all reasons are employer-related. In some cases, employees quit due to external factors such as:

  • Major life events or changes
  • Health and ability issues
  • Concerns about the company’s direction or financial health
  • Desire to switch fields or industries
  • They want a different company culture

How to avoid employee quitting before it becomes an issue

To mitigate voluntary turnover, start by building company cultures and workspaces that help employees express their needs and work towards their career goals.

The best approach is to implement both macro efforts (company-wide) and micro efforts (individual-basis) as part of your retention strategy. Let’s have a look!

Company-wide initiatives to reduce turnover

Long-term, company-wide strategies require time and careful design. These strategies focus on building a strong company culture, improving job satisfaction, and increasing engagement. You can:

  • Start a mentorship program. Pair employees with mentors in a mentoring program that focuses on upskilling, problem-solving, and growth. 
  • Reinforce a coaching culture. Increase productivity and knowledge-sharing by bringing coaching into the workspace.
  • Invest in the right technology. Equip your teams with the necessary tools to help them succeed, be productive, and increase efficiency.
  • Advocate feedback. Encourage feedback-sharing regularly, both from the employee to the employer and vice versa.
  • Invest in L&D. Help employees progress in their career development by providing access to learning and development programs
  • Recognize and reward hard work. Be open and transparent about each employee’s accomplishment, and reward employees for their effort.

Actions on the team level and one-on-one to retain talent

To return top talent and star employees in the short term, you must consider why your employee is quitting and what will make them stay and continue to do their job well. These may include:

  • Pay increase. Pay competitive compensation to improve morale and job satisfaction.
  • Promotions. Offer promotions that are due and can help employees step into the next stage of their career development.
  • Special projects. If low engagement is a primary concern, suggest new projects that pique your employee’s interest and engagement.
  • Stay interviews. Conduct one-on-one meetings with star employees to understand why they stay in your company and what may be potential deal-breakers.
  • More one-on-one time. Meet with your employees regularly to learn about their initiatives and goals, and take time to recognize their efforts.
  • Peer coaching. Pair employees in similar stages of their career jounrey so they can share knowledge and experiences and coach each other. 

How to increase employee retention - mentorship

As you can see, there are quite a few signs of an employee quitting or getting ready to move on. It is important not only to identify that they may be leaving but also to understand why. This will help you create an employee-focused work environment where they can be their best selves, in turn, helping your business do its best.

That said, it is a good idea to have employee retention strategies in place so you can give your employees an additional reason to stay. Among the many strategies mentioned above, mentorship programs are a critical part of retention

Mentorship has many benefits for both the employee and employer. It aids:

  • career and skill development, 
  • relationship-building, 
  • knowledge and information-sharing, 
  • and more. 

It gives your senior employees a chance to impart wisdom and industry experience while giving your new employees an opportunity to get the most out of their job and prepare for even bigger opportunities within your organization.

When done right, a mentorship program will improve engagement, increase internal promotions, and retain more employees. 

Need help setting up your mentorship program? Together allows you to manage your program’s registrations, meeting agendas, and reports – all in one platform. 

Book a demo today to see how you can use this mentoring software in your organization.

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