Human Resources News & Insights

6 signs a top performer is leaving

Resignations often catch managers off-guard — especially when they involve one of the company’s best employees. But if supervisors pay attention to the warning signs, they might have a chance to turn things around.

Here are the behaviors that could indicate a top performer has one foot out the door:

  1. Change in attitude — For example, a top team player might withdraw and stop helping others.
  2. Sloppiness — Formerly top-notch employees will make more errors when they know they’re leaving.
  3. Solitude — The employee might start to distance himself from others, for example, by eating lunch alone.
  4. More absences — Workers headed for the door will take “sick days” to attend interviews.
  5. Formal attire — Employees will also use lunch to go to interviews, which normally will require them to dress nicer than usual.
  6. Increased Web use — Departing workers are less inclined to do actual work, and they’ll spend a lot of time on online job boards.
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  1. Today, managers need to stay in constant contact with their employees. The more they stay connected to their employees, the more they see signs of separation that can potentially be addressed. And, them more employees feel connected to both their work and their managers, the less likely they are to look to leave. It is all about constant contact.

  2. What year is this? Some of the comments take me back to a time when employers didn’t hold all the cards! In this economy staff often leave to leave, to take a step closer to their dream job or at least get a rung closer to the job they really want.

    It’s not always practical, cost effective or convenient to invent ways to keep someone plus why would you want an employee to stay on after they’ve mentally moved on?

    A mgr with a clue stays abreast of whats going on with the employee, providing encouragement and support whether it’s their first day or last. Staying in the mix allows for open banter, nips negative behaviors and lessens flight risk – or at least they’ll think enough of you to give you ample time to prepare for their departure.

    We’re dealing with 3 (maybe it’s 5 now?) generations who were told they would hold anywhere from 8-20 jobs over the course of their careers. I swear some of them are topping that number just to claim overachiever status. When my best leave for the grass is greener opportunity, I’ll try to talk them down but I also recognize times have changed. I want them to know they’ll be welcomed back.

    Sam’s observations are spot on and I’d like to add, not only look for the quality of work, but also the quantity > time spent on other things including time off, internet and email transmissions at work. Managers with a clue know what’s going on and can brace for the departure before it’s published.

  3. Oh, I know I’ll get a lot of boos for this one, but… We do stay in touch with our staff and discuss matters including one’s happiness with the company. But, if someone makes up ther mind to leave and has gone so far as to accept another job, I’ll be ______ if we will be highjacked into changing the job or giving a raise in pay to have them stay. These discussions were previously held!

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