National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

The Signs an Employee May Be Ready to Leave

In a time of full employment, retaining good employees is essential. Recognizing the signs that someone may be looking for the door is vital.

With unemployment at its lowest level in decades, the competition for qualified talent has never been more intense, making it more important than ever to retain the good employees that you have. This is true for every industry and every business. In the trucking industry, however, we have the double whammy of fewer young people looking for a career in the industry at the same time that the existing workforce is “aging out.”

I’ve written a number of blogs on the issues of recruitment and retention, so when I saw this article in CFO, “How to Predict Which Employees Will Leave,” I was intrigued. Here’s a stat that should alarm any business: Nearly 3.5 million US workers quit their jobs in January, the highest number ever for a single month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to the CFO article, there are signals that you can look for to help predict when an employee may be ready to leave. They may not be the normal predictors you look for as these are based on advanced predictive algorithms that take many facets into account. According to Jon Christiansen, a data scientist quoted in the CFO article, “The one common theme I’ve seen is that it’s easy to predict who will stay. Predicting who will leave is not easy.”

Here are the things you should be looking for:

Is the employee being fairly evaluated? This is really an “apples and oranges” situation. When looking at an employee’s performance, are you comparing that performance against others with the same responsibilities and in the same situation? Let’s take customer service: if your business has multiple locations, each of those locations may service different customer types and demographics that make an employee’s job more or less difficult. If an employee feels they are being unfairly compared to someone who works in a more advantageous location, that employee may start looking elsewhere.

Is the employee showing signs of disengagement? An employee who used to offer thoughts and ideas no longer does so … or that employee feels that it is not “safe” to disagree with others, then that person may feel that they no longer fit in. These feelings may not be based on actual conflict situations … or they might. If this employee is valued, it is necessary to figure out the facts of the situation.

Is the employee reward-focused or goal-focused? People who tend to focus on their own personal rewards rather than helping achieve company goals may not be a long-time employee, even though their performance is excellent. People who build relationships with their colleagues and work together to increase success are happier at their job and more likely to stay. The person looking for rewards only may also always be looking for that better offer.

Is the employee taking too long to perform a tasks? In this case, we are talking about employees that are more than capable of handling the task. In that case, what this might indicate, according to the article, is the employee may feel they need to look busy because, once the task is done, there is nothing else to work on. Having to look busy is actually more exhausting, physically and emotionally, than having multiple tasks to perform.

What this CFO article makes clear is that you need to look beneath the surface when evaluating who may leave. It takes a concerted effort and needs the cooperation and buy-in of all managers and executives. At a time when competition for good workers is fierce, keeping the good employees you have is more important than ever.

Read my IdeaXchange blog on how to find great talent by following the lessons of legendary coach, Jimmy Johnson.


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