HR · 8 October 2019

3 signs that your employee is about to leave your business

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“Strike while the iron is hot”, is an old proverb that holds to be good advice in the realm of business. As an employer, it’s best to act sooner rather than later in many areas spanning from risk assessment to something as simple as a stock check. And this should be no different when it comes to your employees and their emotional wellbeing.

Time after time, vital and well-performing staff are lost in the “battlefields” of the working world meaning that you, as the employer, can feel guilty that you did not provide them with armour to be equipped and deal with the stresses that, inevitably are harpooned at them.

So how do you spot if an employer is unhappy in the workplace, and what steps can you carry out to salvage a soon to be fallen soldier?

1. They’re suffering from a ‘productivity pause’

Have you noticed a slump in your employee’s productivity levels?

Not to frighten you, but 97% of British workers who operate inside an office feel frustrated at some stage of their career. This sobering statistic should be enough to ignite a fire beneath you to act rapidly to preserve your team members as and when you notice their productivity levels slumping.

One of the major telltale signs that an employee might be daydreaming their way to greener pastures is if their work hasn’t been up to a standard by which they usually perform.

“Unhappy employees don’t extend themselves,” shares Bill Murphy in an article for Inc magazine. Meaning that an employee who is dissatisfied in the workplace is not going to pour their energy into a job they despise.

Naturally, as an employer this might anger you because let’s face it, they are still getting paid the same amount to sit in the office and be upset and/or unproductive.

However, you must urge yourself to take off that capitalistic cap and instead try and redirect their efforts towards the production.

Start by acting intuitively to your employee’s needs and passions. Maybe they are dissatisfied with their daily tasks? After all, the monotony of a 9-5 workday can make staff feel a little stale.

So perhaps instead summon them into your office and see if there is a new project that might interest them or conference they could attend to re-spark their focus, passion and drive and hopefully jig up some motivation in the process.

2. They’re taking too many “sickies”

Withdrawing from workplace interaction is a tell-tale sign that an employee is getting cold feet.

Often, as an employee’s investment erodes away like the enamel on teeth, another sign they may thinking of high-tailing it out of your business is a declining rate of office attendance. Perhaps they have come down with seasonal flu one too many times this month or scuttle off early with an ‘upset stomach.’ – Whatever they’re doing to get away regularly, they might be doing it because they don’t want to be working in your environment anymore.

The temptation to stalk and snoop their LinkedIn to see if it’s open to recruiters must be refrained from. Instead, try and engage in something called ‘touch-point interviews’ regularly, this allows for you to receive critical feedback from your team – where you can gain a deeper understanding of how they are coping.

What’s more, if your employee is becoming less and less invested in extra-circular work activities, such as Friday drinks, or team lunches it could be one of the first signs that their commitment to the business is slipping.

3. They’re suffering from a lack of clarity and direction

As an employer, you must practice what you preach.

As the saying goes “You don’t leave a bad job, you leave a bad manager,” and as difficult as that may be to face sometimes as employers it is ultimately the truth.

One of the main reasons employees get up and go is a lack of communication. If you want open lines of transparency between you and your employees, then you must be the one to first demonstrate that.

“Good employees will leave a company if they don’t receive recognition for their contributions and if they feel unappreciated. No one wants to continue to work hard and bring value to a company if their efforts are ignored. A ‘thank you’ from management goes a long way. Recognising employees for their contributions don’t have to include monetary incentives. It can be as simple as a private conversation or email message.”– James Feldstein, President of Audio Den 

As the average time a person stays in a job is now only a mere 4 years, clutching on to valuable employees has been harder than ever. The need for employers to practice what they preach and demonstrate a good work culture is a recipe to retain a strong workforce.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Laura is the Junior Reporter at Real Business and Business Advice. She's the first point of call for any PR, business owner or industry insider looking to tell a story of entrepreneurial inspiration, retell some key advice, or a ground-breaking news story. She is the core ambassador for the brand(s) and can be found attending high profile events and meeting disruptive business owners across London – and beyond.

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