Both wanted and unwanted employee turnover is expensive, hard on employees, tough on teams, and costly for the company in dollars, productivity, and company culture. A report from the Center for American Progress estimates that the loss of an employee can cost up to 213% of the salary for a highly trained position. Anyone who is in a leadership position should be on the lookout for employee attrition warning signs and quickly try to uncover and mitigate the cause.
Most often the reason employees leave is seductively simple: they are unsatisfied with their current situation. They demonstrate their dissatisfaction with decreasing levels of employee engagement. And, most often the lack of employee engagement can be traced back to poor leadership. It’s time to look in the mirror and objectively assess if, and then why, your employees may be looking for an exit.
Top Employee Attrition Warning Signs
Here are the top employee attrition warning signs that your employees may be seriously disengaging from their work, their boss, and ultimately from the company:
- Feeling Like There Is a Poor Job or Culture Fit
If you sense that your employee is really struggling to get the job done, perhaps they and their talents are not well suited to their role, their boss, or to your workplace culture. Making sure that an employee is a good fit starts with hiring the right people with the right behavioral, motivational, and intellectual competencies combined with the right cultural fit. Use proven behavioral interviewing techniques to hire people who will thrive.
But if you inherit someone who is not a good match, find a more appropriate role for them – both for your sake and theirs. When employees have the competence and confidence to do what they love in an environment where they naturally excel, they are far more likely to do a great job and enjoy doing it.
- Feeling Underappreciated
This employee turnover warning sign may be harder to spot but ask yourself if you are recognizing good work by letting the employee know you appreciate their contribution. It is human nature to try harder when work is noticed and applauded. If you ignore extra and excellent efforts, your employee will soon become demotivated.
- Feeling Overworked
Are you asking too much of your employees? If you see that they are working long hours and showing signs of stress, it is past time to check in. For increased performance pressure to deliver increased results, the situation must be just right.
Do what you can to create clear goals, set fair performance metrics, and to create personal and professional meaning. Whenever possible, alleviate their burden and help them achieve a better balance. Sure, there are times when employees are called upon to put in extra time. But this should apply to the entire team for a specific and time-constrained, agreed-upon goal.
- Feeling Left Out
Are your employees clear about how they and their team contribute to the company’s strategic priorities? If they have any doubt about the purpose of their work or if they are unclear about how the company is performing, that is your fault and can create a lack of trust and misalignment.
When you as a leader do not communicate future strategies or offer developmental opportunities that dovetail with those strategies, employees may start looking for that exit. After all, they have career ambitions that need to be nurtured.
- Having Unclear Expectations
Are your employees confused by what you want them to do? Are they coming to you with lots of questions or, worse, making things up as they go along hoping they are moving in the right direction?
It is simple. You cannot expect employees to do the right thing unless you give them clear goals and accountabilities and check in regularly to see that they understand just what is expected of them.
- Feeling Unsupported
Employees want to feel that their manager has their back and truly cares about their personal and professional success. Show your genuine interest in their well-being by listening carefully to what they say and what may be behind their words. Know their professional and personal talents and interests. Build the relationship so they feel safe coming to you with issues and concerns.
The Bottom Line
Managers need to stay close to their employees. One-on-one meetings should be scheduled on a regular and frequent basis. The best way to know if an employee is dissatisfied and disengaging from the job is to learn it from them early on. Then you have a chance to redirect them from the exit to a more rewarding job experience.
To learn more about how to engage employees, download The Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement