There are few things an HR pro dreads more than when a great employee hands in their notice. The challenge of having to replace them can be overwhelming.
And in this tight labor market, landing new top talent is no easy task, making retention an important priority.
Luckily, there are usually signs a valued employee might be thinking about jumping ship, and some proactive steps you can take to try and keep them.
Experts agree there are a lot of reasons great employees decide they need to move on. Apart from salary, boredom and a lack of recognition and engagement are the biggest issues causing workers to seek employment elsewhere.
While it might seem sudden and jarring when an employee announces their resignation, there were most likely subtle signs it was coming.
Here are the main ones to watch out for:
- Private calls during work. Everyone needs to take private calls in the office from time to time, but if someone seems to be answering the phone in hushed tones and dashing to the nearest empty office frequently, that’s probably a sign your employee is interviewing somewhere else.
- Declining work ethic. Many employees mentally check out before they leave a job. While there could be personal issues causing a change in attitude, if an employee seems less enthusiastic and is consistently only doing the bare minimum, they’re most likely ready to move on.
- Lack of socialization. Someone actively wanting to leave probably won’t go out of their way to make chit chat with co-workers or be overly friendly anymore. Pay attention to any employee who’s suddenly keeping to themselves more than usual.
- More activity on social networks. If you’re worried an employee may be getting ready to leave, take a peek at their online presence. Is their LinkedIn page completely updated and polished? Are their tweets looking more professional than personal? This kind of online activity could be an indicator an employee is trying to make a good impression on a new employer.
While it may be too late to convince some people to stay, there are still steps you can take to prevent talent from leaving in the future.
Presenting new challenges
Boredom is what’ll disengage your workers the fastest and cause them to seek a new project elsewhere. To get a basic idea of where your employees stand, an engagement survey is a great tool to see who needs a change.
An easy fix is to ask your people if they’d like to tackle different types of assignments. The more you keep things fresh for them, the more likely they are to remain engaged.
Another way to avoid boredom: See who’s due for a promotion. If someone’s been stuck in the same position for so long they’ve grown tired of it, see if there’s a new opportunity for them. The new responsibility could be just what they needed to re-spark their enthusiasm.
When your people don’t feel appreciated, they’ll have no qualms about leaving the company. To correct this, it’s important to give frequent feedback and let people know when they’ve done a good job.
Gallup research shows employees who are praised are more committed to their work and organizations. Even just quick feedback, positive or negative, can motivate employees and boost their engagement.
Extra communication can only make employees feel more connected to the company.