When employee turnover is high, numerous issues arise. In 2019, it has cost US industries $630 billion through impaired productivity, higher operational costs, and lower employee morale.
If we also consider the fact that 51% of employees are actively looking for a new position at any given time, it becomes vital to raise our awareness about the indicators of employee resignation, and do our best to improve our retention rates.
1. They’re less productive than usual
If an employee starts to do less work than they used to – or if the quality of their work begins to suffer, especially if they used to be highly productive – it can be an indicator something is amiss. A drop in productivity can be caused by a multitude of work-related factors, but they may also be going through a tough time in their personal life.
If you notice an employee is doing enough work just to get by, it is important to evaluate the situation objectively, before you jump to any conclusions. Talk to them and ask them directly what is causing their underperformance.
2. They’re less present than usual
Employees who are often late, often leave work early, or are suddenly taking more time off may be looking to quit. If their work situation has become particularly unbearable for them, they will find any excuse to spend the least amount of time at work.
An employee about to resign may also be exhibiting signs of mental absence: they may be less focused, quieter in meetings, and not as vocal about the things that used to matter to them.
3. They’re more active on social media
People will usually update their social media profiles (specifically LinkedIn, or any work-related portfolio pages they may have), before applying for a new job. In fact, this update can be the most telling sign someone is making a career move.
If you decide to track your employees’ social media activity, make sure to do it in a way that still respects their privacy. Most importantly, if you do notice they have become more active, don’t confront them about that – talk to them about how they are feeling in their current position.
4. There’s unexpected friction with other staff
Employees who begin to argue with other members of staff (especially over minor points), or who become disrespectful in any way – either to their superiors or their subordinates – may be looking to leave soon.
If they no longer seem to care about the relationships with the people around them, they have probably reached a point of no return, and are just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.
5. Their mood is unusual
Any significant change in mood may also be a warning sign that an employee is looking to resign.
If someone who used to be very vocal now becomes quieter, if people who used to contribute to every meeting now stop asking questions, if someone stops attending team building events, they may be looking to distance themselves from their colleagues, to make a future transition easier.
There are several things you can do in order to prevent employee resignation:
- Improve your engagement: engaged employees are more productive and happier at work. They will also be much less likely to resign and are more likely to stay with your company for longer. Consider implementing various employee engagement strategies to ensure your staff feels its best. It may take some trial and error to pinpoint the ones that work for your group of personalities, so don’t give up.
- Improve your feedback: providing regular feedback helps employees feel more valued, and it gives them specific suggestions on how to improve their performance. By giving more effective feedback, you will significantly prevent a high turnover rate. Make sure to also establish lateral feedback, so your staff can offer valuable advice to each other.
- Talk to your employees: be very open with your staff about every aspect of their work. From the time they need to complete a task, the everyday jobs they need to handle, the way they are being rewarded, what they would like to change: nothing should be off- limits. Your staff needs to feel they can come to you with any question and suggestion. Establish an open-door policy, and always take the time to listen.
- Ask for their input: consult your employees about the minor and major points of running your business. Genuinely asking for their input will help your employees feel valued and like a part of the family. Do make sure you truly take action on some of their suggestions, as input that is not implemented can backfire, and make your employees feel even less appreciated.
- Provide room for growth: to feel fulfilled in their job, employees need to be able to grow. Don’t make the mistake of believing that those who improve their skill will automatically wish to leave. When you offer courses, workshops, and materials that will both help your staff do their core jobs better, and expand their knowledge on other subjects, they will appreciate the opportunities you provide and wish to remain with you for longer.
- Remember that your employees have private lives too: always factor your employees’ private lives into your scheduling, delegating, and other decision-making. Someone whose parents are ill, for example, will be much less able to handle important tasks. It will take a lot of compromise and understanding, but the more flexible you can be, the more your employees will appreciate you.
Losing an employee is never easy, whether they have been with you for a couple of months or several decades.
To improve your retention rates, start by taking a good long look at the way you do business and the way you treat your staff. If your employee churn is high, there is something you are not doing right – and the sooner you discover what it is, the better.