Employee Engagement – Clues Employees Are On their Way Out

by Mar 28, 2017Employee Engagement Training

What are the biggest warning signs that employee engagement has dropped low enough that high performing, high potential or difficult to replace employees are considering jumping ship?

To answer the question, we researched how employees on their way out the door behave and what can be done to better retain top employees.

First, leaders need to recognize the clues that employee engagement levels are decreasing. Annual employee engagement surveys and quarterly pulse checks should form the basis for your company specific data.  Extensive research has been done to narrow down the behaviors that signal disengagement.  These behaviors are not as obvious as a colleague checking out the want ads or dressing up for more-than-the-usual “doctor appointments.” The behavioral predictors of an employee about to leave are more subtle.  Researchers call these behaviors “tells” after the facial or body language clues that poker players involuntarily give that indicate the strength of their hand.

Based upon over 500,000 employee engagement survey participants per year, a pattern of five dis-engaged behaviors emerged as early warning signs:

  • Diminished productivity
  • Loss of focus
  • Decreased interest
  • Less cooperative
  • Increase of negativity regarding their job, the company and their supervisor

If you notice an employee is disengaging, what can you do? The answer is not rocket science…find out what’s going on and what you can do to support their success on the job. Set up an appointment when you two can talk privately and without interruption. Your interest in learning the cause of the disengagement and in looking for a solution should be genuine. If you are their manager, be aware that you may be part of the problem. Try to discuss the situation objectively with improvement being the goal of you both.

Why should you go to such time-consuming and perhaps painful lengths?

Disengagement and turnover are costly. And, if an unhappy employee is a key contributor, your team and company may suffer inordinately from their loss. It is up to you to try to re-engage and retain your top talent. If the employee is discouraged about growth opportunities, look for new projects or training that will challenge them and give them true career development. If they feel unappreciated, make sure you recognize the work they do and let them know how much their contribution matters. If they feel that their work has little purpose, translate the overall mission of the organization into how their job makes the mission possible. You need to find out what motivates them personally and professionally.

Your attention to employee engagement is critical. We know that “companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share” in addition to recovering from the economic dips faster than companies with less engaged employees.  Do your part to keep your team engaged in their work and far less inclined to look elsewhere.

To learn more about employee engagement and retention, Download Our Employee Engagement and Retention Toolkit Now

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