Warning Signs That Your Employees Are About To Leave

Don't let the poor job market fool you. Employee retention is not an issue to be put on the back burner.
President, Proximo, LLC
December 14, 2011

With the poor state of the job market, many business owners take it for granted that their employees won't quit. This relaxed attitude towards employee retention has reduced employer engagement on addressing employee-related issues. It’s a mistake to assume that your most talented employees, especially your superstars, won’t consider offers by competing companies. Assuming that a poor job market automatically leads to high levels of employee retention is also a terrible mistake. If you have fallen victim to this line of thinking, then you could be at risk of receiving resignation letters from your most prized staff.

Ask yourself these three questions to determine whether or not you should be concerned about employees leaving.

1. Do I actively recognize my employees' contributions to the company?

According to a recent study by Globoforce, 78 percent of employees state that being recognized for their efforts at work motivated them to achieve higher levels of performance. According to research by Towers Watson, a company's rewards policy is the number indicator of an employee’s intent to stay. Failing to offer a rewards program or implementing one in a mediocre fashion discourages employees from performing their best and will lead them to find opportunities elsewhere.

2. Have I communicated openly to my employees regarding changes taking place at the company?

Fear of the unknown is common among employees and providing information to ameliorate this fear will improve productivity and retention. Failing to do so sends the message that you simply don't care about your employees. When changes take place at a company—even for the better—most employees will worry first about their job security, not the opportunities that the changes could provide.

3. Have I instituted programs and policies that help the well-being of my employees?

Worrying about employee well-being sends a message that the company values their staff. In general, companies have performed poorly when it comes to implementing programs that take into account well-being. Only 10 percent of employees at companies recently surveyed by Globoforce feel like they are vital company assets. If someone feels that they are not important, then they will seek opportunities at companies where they feel they are appreciated.

If you can't answer yes to these questions, then there is a great likelihood that some of your most valuable employees are considering moving on to new opportunities. In order to avoid an exodus of talent, consider the following recommendations.

Reflect on why you haven't addressed these issues. The fact that you haven't paid attention to employee retention could be a sign that there are serious problems with your management priorities. Employees should be number one on your list of items to worry about. Without good people you can't have a growing and healthy business. If you have an aversion to doing with people issues, then delegate this responsibility to someone who is more open to addressing them.

Launch a simple employee rewards program. These programs aren't complicated or expensive to manage. As indicated by the study mentioned above, this is a core issue for employees. Offering unexpected prizes for extra effort and public recognition for a job well done will be much appreciated.

Institute a formal communications vehicle. If your company is going through significant change, then an employee newsletter, electronic memo or town hall forum are excellent ways to communicate the changes taking place.

Focus on employee well-being. Many business owners consider this topic to be too "touchy-feely" and tend to ignore it. Start by launching a simple survey that asks your employees what you can do to improve their well-being at the company.

A small investment in employee well-being will more than pay for itself through enhanced productivity and increased engagement.

What do you do to keep your employees motivated?