Signs an Employee Might Be Headed for the Door

In today’s competitive job market, it’s crucial for HR professionals and managers to spot the signs that an employee might be considering a move. Recognizing these signs early can help you address any underlying issues and potentially retain valuable talent.

Here are some key indicators to watch for.

Decreased Engagement and Productivity

A noticeable drop in engagement and productivity is often a red flag. An employee who was once enthusiastic and proactive may start missing deadlines, participating less in meetings, and generally showing a lack of interest in their work.

Increased Absenteeism

Frequent absences can be a sign that an employee is attending job interviews or networking events. While occasional days off are normal, a sudden increase in sick days or personal time should raise concerns.

Changes in Appearance and Behavior

If someone who usually dresses casually starts wearing more professional attire, it could be because they are attending interviews. Changes in behavior, such as becoming more secretive or less communicative, can also indicate they are exploring new opportunities.

Updating Professional Profiles

Another sign of a potential looming departure is changes to an employee’s LinkedIn profile. Significant updates, new endorsements, or increased activity on job boards may suggest they are preparing for a job search. Even subtle changes, like connecting with recruiters, can be telling.

Reduced Interest in Long-Term Projects

Employees planning to leave might show less interest in long-term projects or avoid taking on new responsibilities. They may decline opportunities for professional development or show disinterest in future company plans.

Increase in Networking Activity

An uptick in networking activity can be another sign. If an employee is suddenly more active in professional groups or attending more industry events, they might be seeking new job opportunities.

Seeking External Validation

Employees thinking about leaving might start asking for references or recommendations. They may also seek feedback on their resume or portfolio, indicating they’re preparing to make a move.

Spotting these signs early allows you to take proactive steps to address potential issues. Open communication is key—regular check-ins and a supportive environment can encourage employees to share their concerns before they decide to leave. By staying attentive and responsive, you can help retain your best talent and maintain a stable, engaged workforce.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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