Even in 2023, amid fears of a recession and recent mass layoffs at high-profile companies, the Great Resignation is still underway — and not on a small scale. According to a December survey conducted by LinkedIn, 61% of US employees are considering leaving their current jobs this year, with a higher percentage of Gen Z and Millennial workers planning to call it quits more than any other generation. 

You’ll likely experience unavoidable resignations among your team at some point. But if you can recognize the red flags that an employee’s thinking about leaving, you’ll have a better chance of not only persuading them to stay, but also preventing other team members from leaving in the future. 

We’ll walk through a few of the telltale signs that an employee is considering quitting, as well as what you can do to increase retention and prevent the Great Resignation from taking a large toll on your team.

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Signs an employee might be considering quitting

1. Decreased work productivity 

You may notice an employee who’s missing deadlines more, performing more poorly than normal, and expressing disinterests in tasks — to the point that they don’t act on them at all. These behaviors aren’t always indicative of a desire to resign, but they’re usually warning signs that the employee is unhappy with their role, especially if they’re typically a high performer. 

As an employee becomes increasingly unhappy on the job, their productivity decreases. They may develop habits of procrastination and ultimately begin to look for a position elsewhere. 

2. Hesitation towards long-term projects 

Did one of your top team members show a decreased interest in taking on a long-term project? If they’re considering leaving your team, they’ll be less likely to take on new opportunities or commit to extra responsibilities — because they know they won’t be there to see it through. This lack of engagement is a huge warning sign that they’re planning on leaving soon. 

3. Increased LinkedIn activity 

According to research, 92% of job recruiters use social media to find top talent, meaning a sudden increase in LinkedIn activity could mean your team member is actively looking for enticing employment opportunities. 

Maybe they’re updating their LinkedIn resume, adding additional skills to their existing list, or making new connections with users from other companies. Obviously every profile update doesn’t trigger a resignation, but it’s still worth paying attention to if it starts becoming a pattern. 

4. The resignation of a work colleague

Team members with work besties are happier and more productive on the job, according to research. A Gallup poll found that employees who have a best friend at work are 43% more likely to report having received praise and acknowledgement for their efforts.

Many employees even prioritize having solid friendships at work over financial rewards. If this strong bond is broken due to one of the team members leaving the job, the worker left behind could follow suit — especially if their workplace happiness decreases as a result. 

5. More time off 

Looking for another job requires a substantial time commitment — and that could result in an employee taking more vacation days than normal. They might use their PTO to go on job interviews with other companies as they typically occur during business hours. 

Additionally, an employee who is planning on quitting might try to take advantage of their remaining vacation time if they hadn’t been using it before. And if they’re leaving because they’re experiencing burnout at work, they might use the days to avoid coming in as much as possible before making the move.

6. Lack of desire to grow 

Most employees have at least some level of desire to succeed and rise up the ranks. So if an employee suddenly stops considering their career progression a vital priority, it’s very possible that it’s because they’ve already set their sights on succeeding at another company. 

7. Unrealistic requests

Speaking of growth opportunities, it’s not uncommon for an employee to ask for a raise or promotion. But if the request is out of the blue and larger than what would normally be expected, it could be a sign that they feel undervalued and are considering other options as a result. And if another business has already made them an offer, they could be using the request as a last-ditch effort to stay.

How to prevent resignations from happening

In order to decrease turnover, whether by persuading an employee to stay or preventing future resignations from happening in the future, you’ll need to make an extra effort to keep your team happy on the job. 

Talk to the employee in question

More often than not, simply addressing an issue with an employee who wants to leave can go a long way. Sit down and have an honest and open conversation. Give them a chance to express their concerns and lay out the reasons why they’ve gone out of their way to find another job. There’s a good chance that even a small tweak around things like responsibilities or benefits could be the deciding factor that gets them to stay. 

Provide growth opportunities

Did you know that 82% of employees say that a lack of progression in a role would influence their decision to leave? In fact, the absence of growth opportunities ranks even higher than low pay in terms of factors that prompt team members to look for alternative employment. 

Work with each of your employees to understand what their career goals are — and keep them top of mind at all times. Set them up on a path that helps them get to where they want to be so they feel valued and trust that you consider their growth a top priority. 

Address burnout 

As mentioned before, America is still experiencing the Great Resignation — and studies show burnout was the number one cause of the phenomenon to begin with. A Limeade survey conducted in 2021 found that 40% of employees left their jobs because they were burned out and felt unappreciated as a result. 

There are many ways you can address burnout, including keeping team communication consistent, conducting employee surveys, and holding regular check-ins with each individual. You can also use a tool like Harvest to regularly keep track of work hours and stop burnout in its tracks before it becomes an issue. 

In the Harvest Team section, you’re able to visualize each employee’s capacity. When a teammate is working under or at capacity (the number of hours they’re available to work) you’ll see a lovely, calming blue in their hours-worked bar graph. And when a teammate has worked over their set capacity, you’ll see stop-sign red. That red tells you it’s time to reach out. 

Does that teammate need more support or just one less thing on their plate? After having a conversation with them and figuring out how best to support them, you can then refer back to the Harvest Team section to see who has the bandwidth to take on that work. 

By understanding the typical signs of impending resignations, you can identify any issues your team is experiencing and do your best to find the right solutions. And even if you do happen to lose a team member, it’s important to learn from the experience and modify your retention strategy accordingly. 

With the right tools in place, it’s much easier to keep your team supported. Get started with a free Harvest trial to keep deal breakers like burnout at bay — and much more.