What does a quitter look like?

Recently, we wrote about how high-staff turnover impacts organisations. While hiring the right people from the start is a surefire way to reduce your rates, being able to pick up on when an employee may be starting to think about leaving is essential to managing your human resources proficiently.

Luckily, Huntsman School of Business associate professor Tim Gardner investigated the behaviours people exhibit when they are thinking about leaving a job. To his surprise, it wasn't necessarily what you would expect to see.

The behaviours you would expect an employer to show when quitting may just be red herrings.

"You might think that someone who starts showing up to work late, failing to return phone calls and emails, and taking lots of sick days might be about to leave, but those weren't unique behaviours that applied only to the quitters," he said.

Even other supposedly obvious indicators failed to show that quitting was really on the cards.

"People having a lot of 'doctor's appointments,' showing up to work in a suit, or leaving a resume on the printer were the kind of signs that dropped off the list," Mr Garner continued.

However, while this may leave you at odds with knowing when or why, according to his research, you can predict with 80 per cent certainty whether or not an employee is contemplating their resignation all from a simple appraisal.

Pre-resignation appraisal checklist

If six or more of the ten questions listed here are deemed true for an employee, then chances are that they have already begun packing their bags.

  • Have they become less vocal or more reserved overall?
  • Are they less concerned about pleasing their boss?
  • Have they withdrawn from work socialising or other social events?
  • Has the employee stopped constructively contributing to meetings?
  • Do they only complete the work required and no longer go above and beyond?
  • Have they become less interested in development training?
  • Has their productivity level gone down significantly?
  • Are they less interested in promotions within the company than they used to be?
  • Are they averse to committing to ongoing projects?
  • Do they suggest fewer great ideas than they used to?
When an employee is thinking about getting out, you need to decide whether or not to intervene.When an employee is thinking about getting out, you need to decide whether or not to intervene.

Finding the root of the issue

Ultimately, these questions will help you assess whether the employee is disengaged, Karen Hsu, Vice President of Marketing at business consulting company Badgeville, told BusinessNewsDaily. 

"Usually, there's some core issue the employee is dealing with," she said. "Address the employee, [and ask] what's going on. If it's personal, be understanding, but if it has to do with the company, talk about it."

There may be ways to remedy the situation, be it through additional training, benefits or even just explicit recognition. However, these signs may also indicate that it is time to start looking for a replacement. To solve your permanent recruitment woes, get in touch with Flexi Personnel today.