How Can A Manager Tell When Workers Are Getting Ready To Leave?

Managers need to detect when a team member is getting ready to leave
Managers need to detect when a team member is getting ready to leave
Image Credit: svenwerk

Managers understand that when the job market becomes tight, employee retention is key. What this means is that they are going to have to get good at using their manager skills to detect when their team members are thinking about leaving. Managers need to be able to detect the tell-tale signs that highly valued team members may be considering moving on in order to get in front of staff turnover before it’s too late.

Team Members Start To Look out for No. 1

As managers we want our workers to be a part of a team. However, if we start to see one of them moving away from being a team player and starting to become more of an individual contributor, we may have a problem on our hands that we might not have the manager training to deal with.

Managers can detect a different mode of operation in a worker. This will come across as them starting to believe that every person is for himself. Managers will see that there’s no enthusiasm in the employee’s work. We need to see these as major signs that the person is no longer satisfied and could shift to quitting.

A Change In A Worker’s Attitude

In addition to looking for a worker’s lack of engagement, another potential sign manager’s need to detect is an abrupt change in attitude. That doesn’t necessarily mean a negative attitude. More important is to take note of the change itself.

Managers need to realize that behaviors don’t change overnight. As an example, workers who used to argue about different things would stop — and workers who would not argue, would start. Things like attention to details is reduced, which is never a good thing.

Closure Starts To Become Important To The Worker

It’s especially challenging to determine when talented staff are looking to move on, because they’re used to performing at a high level.

Managers have come to expect these employees to have high standards for their work and they are unlikely to let that slip as they search for a new job. Managers have to ask questions to determine if these workers are thinking about leaving: Are they consistently pushing back a meeting with their manager? Are they zeroing in on wrapping up current projects, and focusing less on long-term strategy and planning? Managers have to detect these subtle shifts, but they could indicate a career change is on the horizon.

Workers May Be Reaching An Important Milestone

Managers who want to avoid creating a workplace with a lot of turn over need to keep an eye on an important, but an often overlooked date in the employee’s career: the 18-month anniversary at the organization.

What a manager has to realize is that workers have different motivators and pain points but one data point indicates employees’ likelihood of moving on — the amount of time they’ve been with the company. Many companies now are being rightly open and transparent about the fact that the average tenure is shorter than ever before. On average an employee will stay 18 months, so it’s critical for employers to be aware of employee behavior around that time.

How To Hold Onto The Talent That You Have

Managers realize that relationships with workers tend to degrade when communication fails. The best way to keep staff engaged is to make sure you’re communicating honestly and effectively — if you don’t then your top talent is likely going to head out the door.

Managers need to let their employees know that they care about them and want to know if anything is bugging them. Then they have to show them that they’re working to address it though different types of team building. This kind of attention works more often than not.

Any worker retention efforts should focus on helping your best employees create a positive arc for their careers. This means that you should be having consistent, productive career planning sessions. Even though they’re often relatively small amounts of time, they have an outsize impact on satisfaction.

What All Of This Means For You

When the labor market is tight, managers realize that it’s going to be up to them to retain their best workers. In order to make this happen, managers are going to have to develop the skills needed to detect when their best workers are thinking about leaving. Realizing that you are going to lose a key member of your team is important, but then knowing how to retain them is even more important.

One of the first things that a manager may detect is that a member of their team changes from being a team player to someone who is only looking out for themselves. Their attitude towards their job that may have been positive may have changed. All of a sudden wrapping tasks up becomes important for a worker who may be thinking about moving on to another job. Reaching a milestone can be a turning point that causes a worker to start to look for their next opportunity. Managers who are trying to keep their workers can keep their communication both honest and effective. They need to let their workers know that they care about them and then take time to work with them to help them manage their career.

Managers are only as good as the team that they are in charge of. Retaining their best workers is key to making sure that they can remain successful. When your best workers start to show signs of considering leaving, you need to be attuned to this and detect it early on. When you discover that one of your workers is thinking about leaving, you need to step in and take action to find ways to retain them. If you can keep your best workers on your team, then you can focus on being the best manager that you can possibly be.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think increasing the salary of a key worker would help to keep them onboard?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated. P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Now that we are all dealing with the arrival of a global pandemic we now find ourselves working from home, many managers are asking themselves just exactly how to go about doing this. Our goal has to be to find a way to stay productive while at the same time remaining healthy and taking care of our personal well-being. What we need to do is to use our manager skills to develop some basic habits that will ensure that working at home does not end up compromising our well-being.