A career change is inevitable to anyone. Hence, employees come and go for many reasons and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So how should you, as an HR manager, handle this situation, especially when your top performer wants to leave the company?

You think that giving a counter-offer will save the day? Do keep in mind that even if they accept it, there’s nothing that can guarantee that they won’t resign in the future. The thought of leaving has already been ingrained in their mind anyway.

In a world where the talent pool is very limited, you wouldn’t want to lose your key performers. Hence, make sure that you are aware of the factors that may influence their commitment and act before it’s too late.

Here are the least to most obvious signs your employee is looking for a new job.

You see way too much LinkedIn updates from your staff

Seeing your employee’s status updates, industry thought posts or new connections notifications popping up all over your LinkedIn newsfeed? It could be a good thing if those updates are somewhat related to your company, otherwise, it is very likely that they are trying to impress the potential recruiters.

Random leaves in the middle of the day or week

employee resignAbsenteeism at the workplace is an early sign of losing a team member. If you notice a recurring pattern of your staff’s off days, try to figure out the actual reasons for their leaves. It’s as clear as day that they are trying to attend multiple job interviews if there’s an unusual amount of emergencies. Besides, not showing up for work also indicates the low level of dedication, which will lead to a career change sooner or later.

Less productive, more chatting

As a manager, you must keep track of your team’s individual performance on a regular basis, not only for the KPIs review but also to monitor if there are any behavioural changes. Pay attention when someone who always completes their assigned tasks on time suddenly falls behind the schedule, that could be because they are already waiting to make a career move. You should realise this issue as soon as it starts to avoid negative influence in the company.

They dress up on random days

You may not always notice your staff’s office attire, but it’s actually good for you to pay attention now. The way a person dresses can reveal a lot about their intention, whether it’s more formal, more makeup, or more accessories, any transformation has a purpose behind and it could be that they are about to meet their future employer.

The rumour has it

Normally, the employees tend to share their concerns to everyone but you, because there is still this invisible barricade between the boss and the team. The moment you feel like the office environment has changed, be it less (or more) chatting, longer lunch hours taken, or frequent discussions about the management, you should consider having a casual pep talk with your team.

What are the odds of turning the situation around, you ask? Here are what you should do to either keep your talents or prevent future employee turnover:

Stay calm and listen to their reasons

You should try not to make the meeting become awkward. No matter how shocking the news is to you, it’s best to conceal your disappointment or even anger. For all you know, it could be you or the management team that triggers their decision to leave.

Money can do the talking sometimes

Have you ever come across this quote (by The Joker): “If you are good at something, never do it for free”? In the corporate world, a good employee has the rights to demand a promotion or salary raise as long as they can bring a valuable contribution to the company. You need to understand the motivation behind their resignation in order to figure out the appropriate solutions. It is important to also ask yourself if their absence in the team would significantly affect the company before making any decision.

Don’t let the relationship turn ugly

employee re;ationDespite the frustration and the shattered trust, you need to keep it professional, don’t blame your employee for leaving. Some managers actually refuse to give a recommendation letter and don’t allow their resigned staffs to clear off the annual leaves. You definitely wouldn’t want to burn all the bridges and risk damaging the company’s image to potential candidates in the future.

So don’t be too harsh on your employee, let they know that they are always welcome to return and consider holding a proper farewell party to show your gratefulness. A little kindness can go a long way, which may even bring them back to your company.

Take note of how you can improve the company’s employee retention

It is important to conduct a formal exit interview as soon as you accept the resignation. Take this chance to learn about the factors that make them want to leave or any potential problems in the company that may lead to future departures. Ask for their suggestions to improve the work culture, whether there’s anything you and the management can do differently (and would they stay if changes were to be made in their favour).

Take action before it’s too late! Start by going through the company’s employee retention programme and adjust it as you see fit. Also, it’s recommended to get to know more about your team members on a more personal level. You’ll never know if all it takes to ensure their commitment is actively encouraging a prospective career growth in the company.

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