The good news? We’re now talking about last year’s mass exodus of workers from the workforce as “The Great Resignation of 2021.” That historical title suggests that there are fewer people leaving their jobs now in 2022.
Yet the importance of employee engagement remains. It can also help if you know how to tell that an employee is about to quit. This article shares some of the top signs.
Top reasons for employee resignation
The nation’s quit rate reached a 20-year high in November of 2021. To learn why, the Pew Research Center surveyed those who quit their jobs last year. The top reasons for those resignations were:
- Pay was too low (63%)
- No opportunities for advancement (63%)
- Felt disrespected at work (57%)
- Because of child care issues (48%)
- Not enough flexibility to choose when to put in hours (45%)
- Benefits weren’t good (43%)
- Wanted to relocate (35%)
- Working too many hours (39%)
- Working too few hours (30%)
- Employer required COVID-19 vaccine (18%)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47.4 million people voluntarily left their jobs of the 68.9 million who quit. The rest were laid off or discharged in 2021.
Knowing why people were quitting at such high rates is helpful. We’ve written about ways you can help address some of these concerns. But, what’s another way to stem the tide of resignations? Knowing how to tell that an employee is about to quit. These are some of the big indicators.
#1 Their productivity drops
The number one indicator someone is thinking about quitting? They start doing the bare minimum. If they are just looking to scrape by, and they used to be a higher performer, that could mean they are only biding their time to leave. Certainly, it is not a good indicator of your employee engagement levels.
Flipside: The individual may be challenged by personal issues outside of work or something may have happened at work to demotivate them. Active listening could help you be there for an employee who needs to be heard and understand the root cause behind their disengagement.
#2 They hesitate to commit to long-term projects
Someone who starts passing on long-term projects or trying to delegate more of their daily responsibilities could be preparing to leave. Hesitating to take on more responsibility may also be a sign. This can be evidenced by a lack of interest in professional development or training. They may be reluctant to take on these opportunities knowing that they are not going to be around in the long run.
Someone who loses interest in moving up in your business may already have set their sights on a move somewhere else instead.
Flipside: They might just be feeling overwhelmed and like they have too much on their plate. You can schedule a meet or a check-in to discuss how to help them better balance their work-life duties.
#3 They have little constructive input in meetings
If someone used to contribute creative and innovative ideas but isn’t doing so any longer, watch out. When they interrupt often or roll their eyes or start ranting about fellow employees on Teams or email, they may be looking for an excuse to quit.
Flipside: Employees may feel that their contributions are not valued. A recognition program can make a difference.
#4 They show less concern for pleasing supervisors
Employees that start procrastinating, showing up late, or missing work appear to care less about the repercussions. They might even complain about management and the work they are given. If they are saying negative things about the business overall, that’s also an obvious indicator of job dissatisfaction.
Flipside: They could feel undervalued by those supervisors and no longer respect their opinions. Getting a sense of how employees see your culture can help.
#5 They become less social
Of course someone could have a perfectly good reason to drop off the company’s softball team or skip lunch with colleagues. Yet, if an employee is suddenly less forthcoming about what’s going on with them outside of work and doesn’t want to join team building activities, they may be looking for work elsewhere.
Flipside: They may be experiencing a major life change. The birth of a child, a new marriage, or the loss of a loved one could take someone’s focus away from the social life of the office.
#6 They show less interest in working with customers
Someone who is not as motivated may become more reserved and apathetic. Where they were once highly capable, they may now lack the energy and interest to engage enthusiastically with customers. They may also become more abrupt and impatient and more likely to criticize.
Flipside: Stress undermines our ability to play nicely. If someone is more argumentative or distant, check in and see what’s going on and how you can help.
#7 They begin dressing up more
This may be more difficult to see in a hybrid work environment, but take note if someone in your office is regularly overdressing for your business casual setting. They may have job interviews before or after work. If they’re also needing to leave early or come in late, or do lunch offsite, that’s another sign.
On the other hand, you might notice the opposite. If they are taking less interest in their appearance at work they may be discouraged and ready to jump ship.
Flipside: Maybe they have decided to “dress for success.” You might compliment them on their efforts to dress so well and see if they are pleased or deflect your attention. The latter might be a sign!
Put employee behaviors in perspective
Keeping up with employee sentiments and their state of mind can help you gauge whether there are resignations on the horizon for your business. Try Sogolytics’s employee pulse surveys or their powerful EX solution to help you understand people’s perspectives and be proactive.
In the meantime, keep a look out for more articles in this series and we dive deep into how you can turn around an employee thinking of resigning along with the steps you need to take to combat the resignations.