#3 signs your best employee is going to leave you (and how to stop them)

14th February 2018

As a small business owner, the team you employ is a huge contributing factor to the success of your business. So when one of your star employees tells you they’re leaving, it can be devastating.

Here I explain some of the tell-tale signs to help you spot an impending resignation and some suggestions as to how to head it off.

Retention of employees is important for all businesses, but particularly for a smaller business. It can be very costly and time-consuming to fill a vacancy. So being aware that one of your most valued people might be about to jump ship, provides you with the opportunity to respond with some forethought.

These are the three most common signs an employee is about to resign:

  1. A bout of sickness absence or doctor’s appointments can often provide a cover for someone to attend interviews during work time. Of course, it can also mean your employee is experiencing a period of poor health, so best not to jump to conclusions. However, if the employee has generally always been in good health and not been one to call in sick, this could be a heads-up that they are actively looking for another job.
  2. If your usually engaged employee becomes quieter and less interested in work activities, this could be a sign that they’ve become disinterested in their job and the company and they’re starting to look around for other jobs. Again, bear in mind that there could be many other reasons for this change in attitude.
  3. Another tell-tale sign is an employee who starts to ask questions about their contractual terms and conditions. Examples include subtle questions about notice periods, company policy on providing references, the timing of bonus pay-outs. These are things that mostly only really matter to someone when they’re thinking about leaving.

What can I do to change their mind?

There might be things you can do, or offer them, to stop them leaving. An increase in salary is the obvious one, but not everyone is motivated solely by money, and neither can you always afford to do this. Consider other motivators, perhaps involvement in a different project, or leading a new initiative, or heading up a different area of the work.

There might be any number of different reasons why someone considers leaving their job, including factors outside of work, so if your suspicions are raised due to any of these three tell-tale signs, my best advice is to speak to the person and have an honest conversation.


What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

P.s. if you’ve got HR questions or want to learn more on how to manage people brilliantly, click here to join my secret (and free) Facebook group for UK entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

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