It is normal for people to quit jobs, especially if their vision and aspirations are no longer in line with that of the organisation. Sometimes it is about the lack of motivation, poor communication, working environment and management that forces people to leave.
Although some employees show signs of irritation, low energy, paying little attention to detail or disengagement, there are some that can stay in line up to the last day when they are handing in their resignation letter.
According to Patrick Ngolobe, the head-human resources at Umeme Ltd, such will never show any signs that they are leaving.
However, these are the fewest cases because most of the times, you will be able to notice a sudden change in the behaviour and if such a person does not have any personal problems, then they are about to leave.
Change in communication style
Communication is a key aspect of any modern working environment. Proper communication ensures more productivity, and good communicators can be spotted easily.
“It could be a sign of quitting if they confrontational employee stops putting up a fight, or a quiet employee begins causing trouble. Whatever the change, a shift in the way employees express themselves can indicate they are considering leaving,” he says.
Try to have a personal conversation with the employee but if they do not show interest and avoid the subject; that is a good sign that they are no longer satisfied the his job.
Jenny Epit Okaka, the human resource business partner at KCB, says loyal employees deliver good work, are always on time and always respect the company’s requirements. This is the measure of their good performance and it is noticeable.
“If the performance of a once loyal employee suddenly changes,” Okaka remarks, “it is a sign that something is wrong. Before you jump to conclusions, it is important that you first consider having a discussion with your employee and ask if he or she has any personal issues. Let him tell you what is wrong and try to fix the problem if it is about you.”
She adds that such people would watch movies during working hours, are irritated by a change that is thought to develop the organisation and gossip about problems instead of complaining directly to the boss or the person who is responsible.
Irregular at work
An employee who comes late and leaves early may be a sign that they are no longer as motivated and interested in the job as he was before. They may be sick of their job, colleagues or other workplace elements.
Okaka says, “An unhappy employee is usually absent with no definite explanation. This could also be an indication that they are already quietly interviewing for other jobs. Although someone may have personal issues that bother him, giving him the benefit of the doubt is important.”
Sometimes the employee makes unusual time-off requests. They are not team players anymore; do a minimum amount of work which decreases their productivity more than usual.
Secretive and isolated
It is usually obvious that something is wrong if your employee covers their tracks and is secretive with their colleagues. Although there are employees that are introverts, you may notice that someone who was once open becomes silent.
Ngolobe remarks that: “Sitting alone without engaging with colleagues is a clear sign that your employee is not happy with his job position. The employee is no longer interested in sharing lunch breaks with other staff and other workplace rituals.”
When an employee with whom you used to have a great relationship begins distancing himself from you, there is probably a reason. If the change is extremely sudden, he may have other issues arising but if it is progressive, you can question them if he still wants to come to work or not.
Solving the problem
When some employees leave, they often take customers or proprietary product information with them thereby leaving a gap in the company operations that creates harm in the company procedures.
Okaka says, “It is important that since you are not sure who will leave when, to have a succession planning technique. Train someone who will have the same skills so that when one quits abruptly, you are able to cover up for the damages that may arise.”
There are some employees who although they have not left, are as good as gone. It is important to focus on retaining star employees who create the most value and are actually at risk of leaving. If there are some employees you fear losing, it is recommended that you give them a pay rise, promotion or special projects to handle.
“Instead of only conducting exit interviews to learn what caused good employees to quit, hold regular one-on-one interviews (stay interviews) with current high-performing employees to learn what keeps them working in your organisation and what can be changed to keep them from straying,” she adds.
It is important, according to Ngolobe, that an employer knows their employee in detail because sometimes they need to be supported through a difficult situation. They should try and equip them with skills and competences that will help them ascend the organisation ranks.
He says, “Employers should know the aspirations of their people and value their contribution to the organisation by giving them feedback, exposure, appraising them for their excellent performance and giving them more assignments.”
As an employer, when you notice the signs, be quick to ask the person if they are still with you. You should do evaluation with the employees on what keeps them or want to be changed. If they open up to you and you think you would not want to lose him, try to match up the offers they are requesting. You may not be able to give them everything but try to be very open.