AskHRD: How can I identify employees who're about to quit?

In the Great Resignation, it's all about retention, retention, retention

AskHRD: How can I identify employees who're about to quit?

With the Great Reshuffle nipping at HR’s heels, retention is the order of the day. For many employers, it can come as quite a shock when a worker hands in their resignation – with leaders confused as to why they chose to leave and left wondering if they could have done more to keep them. A study from Businessolver found that 92% of employees would opt to stay with a company is their managers exuded a little more empathy – what’s more, engaged employees are actually 59% less likely to leave a role.

But how can you spot an employee who’s on the verge of quitting? And, more importantly, how can you convince them to stay? HRD found three red flag warning signs that may suggest your talent is heading for the exit.

  1. They’re unmotivated and keep missing deadlines

Now, it’s important to remember that everyone has a bad day every now and again. The pandemic only increased mental health issues, making people feel yet more isolated, anxious, and stressed. Combine that with a toxic culture of overtime and it’s a recipe for disaster. However, if it’s an employee that was once your star player – someone that is consistently good and consciousness – it could be a sign they’re done with the company. In order to mitigate this, try pulling them to one side and asking how they’re doing. You don’t have to make this a formal one-on-one – a casual natter over Zoom would be more suitable.

  1. They’re not committing to long-term projects

Perhaps one of the most telling signs that an employee is about to jump ship is a complete lack of interest in long-term goals or projects. This in itself suggests they’re already making other plans. In this case, it’s important for HR to act quickly. Most often an employee wants to leave for greener pastures – a wage increase or a promotion. Look at your internal pay structure – measure the ROI of giving them a bonus or a boost up the career ladder off of what their exit would cost the company. More often than not it’s much easier – and cheaper – to incentivize an employee to stay than to launch a whole new recruitment game.

  1. They’re gossiping or showing signs of negativity to colleagues

This one’s tricky. When an employee is about to leave, they can do so in one of two ways – graciously with their head held high, or embittered and resentful. Normally, employees will choose the former – even if they do have internal gripes with management. However, if there’s been a level of resentfulness growing in the weeks up to leaving, an employee may take that out on colleagues or leaders before they hand in their notice. In this singular case, HRD suggests not trying to hold on to the employee. Bitterness and anger can spread like a toxic miasma across your company culture – much better to let them leave instead. However, it’s a good idea to conduct an exit interview – try and find out what’s made them so upset and fix it. It might stop this from happening again in the future. 

AskHRD is here for all your pressing people concerns. If you’d like help with an issue in your company, email us at [email protected].

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