The Great Resignation has thrown many companies into disarray. Turnover rates have skyrocketed as employees quit in record numbers. To hold your best employees, you need to learn the warning signs that they may have one foot out the door.

By getting proactive about your retention efforts, you can avoid losing your top talent. That means becoming more aware of subtle signs that your most productive team members could be weighing other opportunities. This will let you spot potential trouble before you’re forced to scramble to find a replacement in one of the toughest job markets for employers in a generation.

How can you get a jump on these potential departures? Here are five signs your employee already has their eyes on the exit:

Their performance suffers

Once an employee starts looking around for other opportunities, they might lose interest in their current job. One-time overachievers simply meet the minimum standards. Average workers become laggards. Sudden drops in output can point to a wandering eye.

Sometimes, an employee will respond to a desire to leave with the opposite approach. Rather than get apathetic, they’ll turn into performance machines, looking to make themselves more attractive to their next employer.

The key here is to look for sudden alterations in output. When you see this happen, you should endeavor to find out why.

Their attitude towards work changes

The one-time office chatterbox suddenly stays quiet at every meeting. The happy-go-lucky contributor becomes surly and withdrawn. These personality shifts could signal a changing attitude towards their job — a precursor to a permanent trip out the door.

Usually, these changes take the form of a positive attitude moving towards negative. But that isn’t always the case. In the same dynamic we noted earlier, a once unengaged employee sometimes suddenly finds newborn enthusiasm – a potential sign they could be looking to shine their performance for a big move.

Investigate any sustained changes in attitude. Anyone can have a good or bad day. But if an employee’s outlook alters over a sizable period of time, you should look into it.

They start furiously cashing in PTO

Maybe your worker is already leaving in increments. If an employee suddenly ramps up their use of PTO, it could be a sign that they are considering other opportunities.

A large number of sick and vacation days can suggest a lot of possibilities. A long-needed rest. A lingering medical condition. A pressing family obligation. As a result, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. But higher-than-usual absences could be the first step to a permanent departure.

Innovation dries up

Has your one-time superstar become a paycheck player? This could be a sign that they have an exit on their mind.

When a team member starts doing just the minimum level of effort without contributing to long-term projects or generating ideas, it points to a short-term focus. They don’t expect to be part of the company when the bigger initiatives bear fruit. Why should they provide added effort?

You notice clear signs of job hunting

Sometimes the red flags aren’t subtle. Think of it like seeing Tinder or Hinge downloaded to your significant other’s phone. You might receive obvious signs that your worker has started to search for a new opportunity. Here are a few examples:

  • They suddenly update their LinkedIn page
  • You get contacted informally as a reference
  • They start posting stepped-up career-related activity on their social media feed
  • You hear something through the networking grapevine

Sometimes you can’t stop a good employee from leaving. In that case, you’re going to need an even better replacement. A top recruiter, like SmartTalent, can find you the team members you need.

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