It shouldn't be a surprise if your best employee comes to you and resigns. If you've been keeping an eye on your employees and their job performance and their job satisfaction, you should know if someone is about to walk out the door—and if that person is a great employee, you should be doing something to keep him or her on board! So what red flags should you be watching for?
A change in performance
Some people say that an employee thinking of quitting will start to slack off on work—that someone who used to complete top-quality work on time will start getting sloppy. Others say the person with one foot out the door will suddenly become super-efficient: Outstanding projects will suddenly get done, loose ends will get tied up, and longstanding issues will be resolved because they want to leave on a high note. Either way, if you notice something dramatically different about an employee's performance, they might be on their way out.
A change in appearance
If a male employee who usually dresses in polo shirts suddenly starts wearing a tie a few times a week or the female employee who usually wears jeans and a ponytail starts sporting a more sophisticated style, it’s a warning sign that something may be up. Sure, maybe they just upgraded their wardrobes on their own, but more likely, they’re dressing up to interview elsewhere.
A change in schedule
Has one of your employees started leaving early, arriving late or requesting random days off? Especially if these habits are abnormal, they could be a sign that your employee is interviewing or trying to use up any remaining PTO before abandoning ship.
A change in habits
An employee who has to keep excusing himself to take personal calls or who takes frequent trips away from her desk to find a quiet, solitary place could be waving a red flag right under your nose. Chances are, they're fielding calls from, or making calls to, a recruiter or headhunter. Yes, they might be dealing with a private, personal issue, but be on guard.
Any or all of these are tipoffs that you should not ignore. Take them as opportunities to sit down with the employee and engage him or her in a conversation about their future work plans. You may want to solicit feedback on your performance as a manager or their feelings on the company overall. You may want to encourage them to share process improvements. Even if the employee doesn't end up staying, hopefully you'll both end the relationship with a positive impression of each other.
Have we missed any warning signs? Do you have any tips you'd like to offer? Please share them in the Comments section below. And if you'd like help with your HR function, please give CPP a call. We can help you keep your best and brightest on board!