Signs your best employee is about to resign - Lamboley Executive Search
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Signs your best employee is about to resign

Temps de lecture 3 minutes

In 2018, six out of ten executives planned to resign. Despite speculation by managers, we know very little about whether certain cues or signs exhibited by employees can predict whether they’re about to resign. To help managers and companies identify employees at risk of quitting, we’re investigating and uncovering a set of behavioral changes exhibited by employees that are strong predictors of voluntary quits.

The resignation of an employee can be a shock event that blindsides even the most observant boss. But some behaviours, like leaving early and a negative attitude towards bosses, are the telltale signs that an employee is quitting. Alone, these behaviours are not a concern. When put together, they signal an upcoming resignation and a potential risk to business. It is therefore more important than ever for companies to know how to handle a resignation: if possible to anticipate it, but in any case, to understand it and respond to it efficiently.

Multiple absences, low investment and high profile demanded

One of the first signs is frequent absences. Indeed, job interviews take time and might be a sign that your co-worker is engaged in a process. Yet, any unusual absence is not a sign of departure, but in most cases, a recruitment process requires time.

A leaving employee is also more reluctant to contribute. Indeed, an employee determined to resign is not committed any longer. For a manager, lower investment must trigger a reaction. Once again, it may be just as likely to be a slack moment or a way of expressing dissatisfaction as the signal of a permanent departure. If an employee who regularly expresses his frustrations suddenly stops complaining, don’t be thrilled! He just gave up, his resignation is close.

The 13 signs an employee is about to resign

Harvard Business Review published a study which came up with 13 different signs that an employee is about to quit. They:

  1. do less work than usual
  2. are less of a team player
  3. do the minimum more often
  4. are less interest in pleasing bosses
  5. are less willing to commit to deadlines
  6. have a negative change in attitude
  7. show less effort and motivation
  8. are less focus on job-related matters
  9. express dissatisfaction with their current job
  10. express dissatisfaction with their supervisor
  11. leave early more often
  12. show less enthusiasm for the mission of their employer
  13. are less interested in working with customers 

Beyond these behaviours, some profiles are simply in high demand and are more likely to resign. This is all the more true when their development opportunities are limited within their company.

React positively, don’t resign

In the face of a resignation, it is difficult not to take it personally or to offer your employees all kinds of benefits. To believe that such a move would encourage them not to quit is a mistake.

Regardless of the motivations behind serial absences, lower commitment or a change in attitude, do not overlook this attitude but engage in a dialogue. Sharing your observations and proposing careful listening is undoubtedly the most constructive stance to adopt. Be careful, be aware, watch and talk. By understanding what drives your career forward, you will be able to find the right motivations.

If it is a conflict of mood with a colleague, a disagreement about the content of the position or a lack of recognition… maybe it is still time to change the situation. If the window remains open, do everything you can to keep your high-flyer. Then, try to find a sustainable solution. To do this, it is important to know the real reasons for leaving. If, on the other hand, he is going to work for his dream sector or company, do not engage in fierce negotiations, just be constructive, humble and caring. A close relationship and frequent dialogue with your teams will enable you to identify the first initial thoughts: you will respond to their expectations upstream and win their loyalty.

How much more do you want to stay?

Retaining an employee on departure is a high-risk gamble if the employee is willing to leave, particularly if you only have financial arguments . Keep in mind that a leaving process does not stop with money, especially when you have reached the point of resigning.

I have seen many cases where an employee stayed after a pay raise and still left a few months later. Also, remember that colleagues may think that they should resign to get a salary increase and take action…

If your employee is determined to quit, make sure you have the right attitude. Have a look at my previous post to get it right: Why off boarding is good for business

To go further:

– 13 Signs That Someone Is About to Quit, According to Research, Timothy M. Gardner/Peter W. Hom


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