Five signs an employee is quitting

A man looking out into a city skyline from a glass-lined office, thinking about quitting his job.


If your employees are considering pastures new, there should be some tell-tale signs you can read in advance. Don’t let a resignation come as a surprise – if you’ve read the signs properly, there may just be an opportunity to hang on to them.

There are all the obvious indicators you’ll notice when an employee is looking to move on: unusual volumes of sick days, a wave of ‘medical’ appointments, family emergencies… But, there will also be more subtle changes in behaviour that it’s worth keeping an eye out for:

1. They approach conflict differently

If your star employee usually offers their opinion in a meeting or challenges those around them with their point of view, you might notice them start to approach these conversations differently. It’s likely they will not want to appear too emotionally invested, so they will appear more distant to you and the team.

2. They’re uncomfortable discussing the long-term

If someone in the team is actively job seeking, it’s quite possible they’ll try and remove themselves from any talks where they need to discuss long-term projects or deadlines. If you do attempt to engage them in one of these conversations, you’ll probably notice them seeming quite non-committal and vague.

3. They are less communicative

Someone who has emotionally checked out will appear more factual in their use of language and may even start to lack a sense of humour as well! A team member who has ordinarily enjoyed office banter, for example, may well appear more withdrawn and reserved. If you look closely, tell-tale signs of guilt could emerge via changes in facial expression and body language.

4. Drop in productivity

A disengaged employee is increasingly likely to arrive late, leave early, appear non-committal about deadlines and spend a little too long looking at their phone rather than working at their desk. One aspect of presenteeism entails employees being physically present at work but emotionally disengaged, and you’ll see a lot more of this in the office if they’re also thinking about preparing their letter of resignation.

5. The team notice

The team who work most closely with a disengaged employee will be the first to notice changes in behaviour and subtle differences in their schedule. Equally, the person leaving will want to be the least accessible to their colleagues as possible so that they’re not put on the spot and subject to difficult questions! If this is the case, the team may well remark on this new withdrawn conduct and lack of communication – whether it be by email, phone or face-to-face.

Finally, trust your gut feeling. If you’d like to retain a great employee, read our blog on how to hold on to your most valued staff, or get in touch should you need some help with the recruitment of your next vacant role.

Author David Morel Tiger Recruitment Team

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