How to Tell When an Employee is About to Quit
      Author:Prerna Sodhi/Shefali Anand     Source: http://cn.wsj.com     Release Time:2/11/2011 10:35:10 AM     View Times:10733
Is your employee planning to move jobs this year? With the job market booming and salaries rising, companies can expect to see high attrition in 2011. That's the bad news.

The good news is that managers who know their employees well enough can potentially pre-empt these exits. There are several ways of telling if an employee is dissatisfied with their job and may be thinking of leaving the company.

Here are some signs to look out for:

Less participation: Has your once-enthusiastic employee suddenly turned quiet at meetings? Does this employee avoid get-togethers like group lunches for no apparent reason? Has their overall team participation dipped?

'Indifference towards everythinga | is the biggest giveaway' that the employee is on the verge of leaving, says Sonali Vaidya, group head of human resources at Alchemy Capital Management, a money management firm. She adds that managers who might be planning to leave might become more lenient and carefree, and less strict about meeting deadlines.

Lower productivity:If a hard-working employee has suddenly become sloppy in his or her work, that should put you on alert. Perhaps the employee is only sticking to what he or she? has been asked to do rather than taking initiative. They may also be pushing back deadlines more often than usual. Or he or she might not be well prepared for the week ahead.

'If a person comes to work on a Monday morning without an agenda for the week or even a plan of action for the day, then it surely is a matter of concern,' says Ashok Ramchandran, director of human resources at mobile phone firm Vodafone Essar Ltd.

Office phobia:An employee who is thinking of leaving the company might often come up with excuses to stay away from the office. This could include taking a lot of sick leave or showing up late at work. The employee might not be clocking the requisite number of hours at work and finding excuses to leave office earlier than normal. The employee could also be using the sick days and extra time to meet potential recruiters. An unhappy employee would typically dread the start of the week, so watch out for frequent 'absence from the office on Mondays,' says Dr. Srinivas Kandula, global head of human resources at iGate Corp., a software services company.

Frequent arguments and complaints:Constant disagreements by your employee could be tactics for the employee to bide time before officially announcing his or her resignation. When given a new task or assignment, the employee might say things like 'Let me see,' 'I can't do this as I'm caught up with something,' or 'I don't think it's going to work.' In some cases, employees could even start to complain about work or start 'speaking ill of bosses or the organization,' says Matangi Gowrishankar, director of human resources for Asia & Pacific at BP Lubricants. This could potentially create dissatisfaction among other team-members and thus be harmful for the company.

Comparing companies:If the employee is regularly praising the work culture of other companies and condemning that of your company, that's a clear sign they may be close to quitting. 'A dissatisfied employee will start comparing his company with other companies like a dissatisfied husband a | compares his wife to other women,' says Mr. Kandula. Perhaps the employee talks of former employees and of the 'better packages and benefits that they are getting in the new organization,' says Ms. Gowrishankar.

Appearances matter:Little changes in a person's appearance and behavior in the office could also be a telling. Perhaps the employee has lately been avoiding eye contact. If he or she usually dresses casually but has recently been showing up in formal wear, there is a chance he or she may be heading to a job interview.

If someone is spending an abnormal amount of time on the phone, 'in meeting rooms or somewhere, you know something is cooking,' says Anuraag Maini, head of human resources and training at Delhi-based DLF Pramerica Life Insurance Co.

The person could be talking to potential recruiters during these private calls. To be sure, these and some other signs described above could also be the result of some personal issues, so managers should not jump to conclusions. 'The idea is being alert to any changes in a person's behavior,' says Mr. Maini. When an employee is behaving differently, the manager should talk to him or her to figure out what's going on.

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