The costs associated with recruiting and training a new employee can be significant, especially for roles that require more experience. This even more true now because of the difficulty many employers are experiencing when trying to fill open positions. That’s why retaining your employees is so important right now. Today we discuss some warning signs that an employee is about to leaveā€”and what you can do about it. Big thank you to Gina for sharing today’s topic!

The warning signs:

Decline in work quality and/or quantity. Your employee’s track record has always been to show up early, stay late, and crank out stellar work. While there may have been small dips in their performance here and there, this is different. Now you’re seeing that while their work isn’t exactly subpar, it’s not up to their usual standards. You’re concerned because you’ve noticed their work effort has declined recently.

Lack of interest in high-profile work. Many top performers like to be part of high-profile projects and teams. If an employee shows a lack of interest, after wanting to get involved in projects in the past, it could be a sign that they don’t see themselves working for you long-term.

Dip in engagement. At staff meetings, they may have less input than before, or perhaps their contributions have been more superficial lately. They may also seem less interested in going out to lunch with colleagues or attending company functions than in the past.

More friction. An employee who typically gets along with colleagues is suddenly becoming difficult to work with. The employee may be complaining a lot more than usual, perhaps about minor things that have always been a part of their job.

Action Plan:

Be proactive. While a certain amount of turnover is inevitable, there are steps you can take to help improve retention before these warning signs appear. Administering employee surveys and conducting exit interviews with departing employees can help you assess employee satisfaction and engagement over your entire workforce. This will allow you to course-correct if needed. A growing number of employers are also conducting “stay interviews,” During such interviews, you ask current employees questions that address both why they’re loyal to the company (an indication of what you should keep doing) and why they may consider leaving (an indication of what changes may need to be made).

Don’t make assumptions. If you notice any changes to an employee’s work performance or attitude, don’t assume you know the cause. While the above warning signs could reflect that the employee plans to leave, it could also mean there’s something else going on.

Meet with the employee. Schedule a meeting with the employee in private. Start the meeting by expressing your appreciation for their contributions and be straightforward. Let them know that you’ve noticed changes in their performance and/or attitude and give examples. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help and then give them an opportunity to speak.

Listen to the employee. If the employee reveals that they are in fact considering a job elsewhere or are otherwise planning to quit, ask them if there’s anything you could do to keep them onboard.

Consider your options. Assess your options for addressing what the employee needs in order to stay with your company. Think about the whole picture, including the employee’s value and potential cost to your company.

Follow up. Schedule a follow-up meeting with the employee and talk about options to help improve engagement.

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