Warning Signs That an Employee Is About to Quit

Posted on

October 11th, 2022


Replacing an employee is a costly venture, as businesses can spend up to two times that employee’s salary to fill their vacancy. It takes time, recruiting efforts, and training to find and bring the new hire up to speed. Lost productivity and work errors also contribute to the high cost.

The reasons why employees look for new jobs are multitudinous. Some problems employers can address, such as a caustic department manager. Others are harder to resolve, such as major life changes the company can’t easily accommodate. For example, an employee may need a position that pays significantly more money or allows them to work 100% remotely to care for children or sick family members.

The following are several signs that an employee is about to quit:

  1. Loss of focus or interest in long-term projects and goals. Employees who are about to quit may become reluctant to sign on to a long-term project. They may worry that they can’t complete a project before they leave and don’t want to leave their colleagues in a bind. They’re also much less likely to care about meeting annual goals, as they will likely be gone before they can reap the benefits of their hard work.
  2. Poor quality of work. It may be a sign of an imminent departure if a formerly productive employee suddenly shifts to performing at a substandard level. For example, punctual employees may begin to miss several deadlines. They may also turn in work that is well below their usual standard.
  3. A sudden interest in professional development. Employees that regularly attend conferences and workshops aren’t a cause for concern as they’ve established a pattern of interest. However, it can be a red flag if an employee has a sudden and prolific interest in attending these professional development seminars. They may be trying to bolster or expand their skill set for a more appealing resume. They might also be using these opportunities to network.
  4. Sudden attendance changes. Changes in attendance can signal numerous problems. For example, an employee who consistently arrives late and takes long lunches may be struggling with burnout or difficulties with their manager. However, an employee that leaves early from work more often can indicate they’re interviewing for a new position. Abrupt absenteeism is always a red flag. Employees that suddenly start using up their sick leave and vacation days may feel overworked and underappreciated. They may also want to use their paid leave in lieu of working at a job they’re no longer invested in and intend to leave soon.

Employees have many tells that they’re thinking about quitting their job. Companies that identify the warning signs can take proactive steps to mitigate any problems that are within their control. For example, if employee absences are rising within a specific department, employers can investigate the leadership environment. Contact Actec to learn how our absence reporting app can help you implement data-driven changes that retain employees.