Retaining employees is important, but it isn’t easy to do. After all, most employees generally don’t really advertise the fact that they’re thinking of leaving beforehand – which makes it difficult for employers to take any preventative action until it’s too late.
That is also the reason why if you want to retain employees who are at risk of quitting, the first (and most important) step is to be able to identify who they are. And while that is not easy, it is also not as impossible as it may appear if you know what to look for.
One of the main early warning signs that you’ll want to look out for is a marked change in the attitude of employees. That change can take on many forms, and in some cases, it may be that the employee seems more disgruntled and critical of company policies, whereas in others they may not appear to care at all about company issues.
At times an employee’s attitude shift may even manifest in a more substantial change in behavior and they may start to isolate themselves, take lots of time off work, constantly show up late, or take unusually long lunch breaks. While it is unrealistic to watch every employee close enough to notice all the signs, you should be aware enough to take note of any signs you do notice.
It should be noted that there can be other explanations for a sudden shift in attitude, such as a major life event. Still, in most cases, it shows that there is a change in the thought process of employees and that is something that you should try to address.
Try to talk to employees about it – but don’t be too pushy. The last thing you want to do is provoke a bad reaction. Instead, try to have an open discussion about how things are, how they find their work, and whether or not they have any issues that they’d like to talk about.
Social Media Changes
If an employee updates their LinkedIn profile out of the blue or begins to follow various corporate Twitter accounts, it could be a sign that they’re considering a move. Maybe they are updating their LinkedIn profile for potential new employers who they know are going to check them out. Maybe they’re avidly networking and following corporate Twitter accounts in search of new opportunities.
As you can imagine, keeping an eye out for social media changes is not an easy thing to do – especially not if you’re doing it manually and for a large number of employees. However, there are tools such as Clara that can consolidate public data on employees’ social media activity and calculate risk scores which simplifies the process.
Keep in mind that social media changes are no guarantee that an employee is about to jump ship, or that they’re even thinking about it. Frankly, it is possible that it is completely innocuous and coincidental, and the last thing you want to do is jump the gun and take drastic action when none is necessary.
Because of that it is best to view this as an early indicator at best. If it is present you’ll want to check to see if there are any other signs too. At most, you may want to sit down with the employee for a one-on-one talk where you can ask them how they’re doing, what their goals are, and maybe get an idea as to whether or not they’re really thinking of quitting.
Decline in Productivity
Have you noticed an employee’s productivity has dropped drastically? Maybe they’re taking longer to complete tasks and missing deadlines, or making lots of careless mistakes? These signs may indicate that they are unhappy and have lost interest in their work – which is cause for concern even if it doesn’t lead to them quitting.
The best way to check on how productive your employees are is by using computer monitoring tools like Controlio. It will let you track exactly what your employees are doing including their app and web usage – so you can see if they’re taking longer to perform tasks, and also check if they’re distracted more frequently than usual.
In fact, this tool will even calculate a productivity score for each employee that you can use as an easy way to track their productivity over different periods of time. If the productivity score is suddenly lower than usual, you may want to look into the reasons behind its sudden drop.
Coupled with its tools to capture emails, IM messages, screenshots, or even keystrokes – this tool will ensure you have all the information you need to decide how to take action. By observing your employee’s working habits you’ll be able to see if they’re just having difficulty with the tasks they’ve been assigned or if they exhibit genuine apathy towards their work.
The data may also be helpful when you decide to talk to any employee about their decline in productivity. Its reports will let you show them exactly what the issue is when you ask them what they think is the reason for it. Should they have no real explanation for their performance or simply not care – odds are they may be thinking of leaving.
Once you identify employees who are at risk of leaving, you can see if anything can be done to retain them. Keep in mind that employees consider quitting for many reasons – some may have left a job because of management, while others are looking for a higher salary, better benefits, or a new challenge.
While you may not be able to convince every employee to stay on, spotting the early warning signs that they’re thinking about making a move will at very least give you the best chance possible. Even if you manage to retain one employee in ten, it is still worth the effort as it will save you from having to recruit and train up a replacement.