Your coworker is usually dressed casually, but now they’re looking fancy. Or maybe they have sudden reasons to arrive late for multiple days on end.
Those are the obvious signs the person is probably looking for a new job. A recent Harvard Business Review article gathered a list of more subtle “tells” that signal a person is unhappy and about to go work elsewhere.
“We asked nearly 100 managers to answer the following question: 'Think for a moment of the peers and subordinates who have voluntarily quit your organization in the last two years. How was their behavior different in the months prior quitting that might have told you they were on their way out?' We also asked 100 employees to describe their own changes in behavior before leaving a previous job. These inquiries yielded over 900 different pre-quitting behaviors,” says the study.
The main 13 signs are:
1. Their work productivity has decreased more than usual.
2. They have acted less like a team player than usual.
3. They have been doing the minimum amount of work more frequently than usual.
4. They have been less interested in pleasing their manager than usual.
5. They have been less willing to commit to long-term timelines than usual.
6. They have exhibited a negative change in attitude.
7. They have exhibited less effort and work motivation than usual.
8. They have exhibited less focus on job-related matters than usual.
9. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their current job more frequently than usual.
10. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their supervisor more frequently than usual.
11. They have left early from work more frequently than usual.
12. They have lost enthusiasm for the mission of the organization.
13. They have shown less interest in working with customers than usual.
The study concludes: “There are many ways to invest in employees you fear may be looking: pay increases, promotions, special projects, etc. One technique is to use what are called ‘stay interviews.’ Instead of conducting only exit interviews to learn what caused good employees to quit, hold regular one-on-one interviews with current high-performing employees to learn what keeps them working in your organization and what could be changed to keep them from straying.”
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