7 Telltale Signs an Employee Is Going to Leave

March 15, 2018

Every company that intends to have long-term success knows that retaining great employees is a critical piece of that success. And with this intention, most continually strive to create a productive working environment full of high-performing, dedicated employees that are enthusiastic and focused. We’re no stranger to this at kununu; we regularly have conversations as a whole company and in individual teams about how to make each other’s lives easier, happier and more productive. 

But as much as any of us try to cultivate a “great place to work” environment, unfortunately, the “grass is always greener” mentality occasionally takes over a team member’s mind, leading them to check out other opportunities. And the next thing you know…they decide to quit!

Offering your employees interesting roles with attractive compensation and benefits helps to minimize the likelihood of them getting “wandering eyes.” Showing appreciation for their hard work makes a huge difference, too. But even with these efforts, some employees are going to leave. And any organization that doesn’t understand the most common signs an employee is thinking about quitting gets left blindsided and short-staffed.

To prevent you yourself from getting blindsided and/or short-staffed, watch out for these 7 telltale signs an employee is going to leave:

Engagement wanes

If a normally-focused employee who contributes ideas at meetings and volunteers for projects sits silently, there may be an issue. Seeing a change like this, especially if it happens rapidly, could signal the person has started looking for another job and doesn’t care about future company plans. Lack of engagement is a serious red flag.

Absences rise

Calling in, taking off early, and coming in late are all bad signs. An employee could be using the time to go on job interviews, or trying to burn unused vacation days before jumping ship. Managers should note if this becomes a pattern, because it probably means the employee won’t be around much longer.

Noticeable negativity

Has Happy Hannah turned into Negative Nancy? Do they complain more than they once did? These behaviors are evidence the person is no longer happy with his or her position and might be looking for something new outside the company.

The occurrence of major life events

Employees who have recently gone through having a baby, a divorce, death of a spouse, or serious illness, are more likely to quit than those who have not experienced these life events. They may feel they need a fresh start, decide to move to another city, or end up taking time off altogether to get their feelings straightened out. If an employee is dealing with any of these tumultuous happenings, it pays to prepare for the employee’s exit, just in case.

Co-worker conflict

Not getting along with fellow employees is a key reason many people hit the online want ads. Disagreements over office politics, project processes, and promotions can cause rifts that result in uncomfortable and stressful office tension. Team members who are having trouble getting along with coworkers may decide to quit to get away from the hostile atmosphere.

Sloppy work starts

If a good employee begins turning in work that isn’t up to par, missing deadlines, and missing meetings, he or she most likely has one foot out the door. People who have traditionally taken pride in their work, but have recently let it slack, are showing they just don’t care anymore. If this is going on, get prepared for his or her resignation.

LinkedIn activity explodes

The final sign an employee is going to leave deals with social media. Networking is vital in finding a job and LinkedIn provides abundant opportunities to job seekers. If an employee is adding an updated picture, a freshened-up bio, and is joining new groups, take note. They could be putting feelers out to see if they can find a position better than the one they have now.


Companies need all their positions filled to maintain efficiency and revenue. It’s a given that some employees are going to leave, no matter how well they are compensated and appreciated. An organization can decrease the impact the departing person causes to productivity by watching for these signs, and proactively preparing for their exit as soon as possible.

 

For more info on attracting, engaging and retaining great employees, check out our free resources.


Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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