5 Signs Employee Turnover is Coming + 5 Ways to Stop It In Its Tracks

5 Signs Employee Turnover is Coming + 5 Ways to Stop It In Its Tracks

Employee turnover is coming (said in my best ‘Game of Thrones’ voice), the question is, can you spot the signs of employee turnover before it carries top talent away? 


We can’t say we weren’t warned. Way back in 2012, Forbes published an article titled, ‘Job Hopping is the New Normal’ pointing out that while the National Bureau of Labor Statistics lists 4.4 years as the average length of time someone stays in a job, that number can be cut in half for Millennials.

The reality is that while some employees might come on board for the long haul, you might only have a year or two with others. If top performers fall into the ‘others’ category, it’s going to be important for you to pay attention to what they say and what they do that might be telling you they are beginning to look for a new opportunity. What you do next could help you keep top talent on board.

A new Pridestaff survey says that 20% — one out of every five employees – are actively looking for new opportunities and one out of three is a passive job seeker.  It’s time for you to brush up on job seeker body language and get a chance to talk to top talent before they give you two weeks’ notice.

Can You Spot the 5 Signs Employee Turnover is Coming Before Top Talent Leaves?

1. Ambition

Ambition, which can sometimes exhibit as impatience or frustration with the status quo or the red tape that must be navigated to get new initiatives underway can be a sign that top talent is about to leave. If they cannot see their way through to a path of advancement in your company, they will look outside for a bigger opportunity.

2. Change in Social Interaction

When employees who have been highly engaged not only in their work but in the social fabric of the company seem to withdraw, skip company social events or stop contributing at the water cooler, it might be a sign that they are already cutting their emotional cord with your company culture.

3. Phoning It In

Good enough isn’t good enough for top talent; when high performers come on board they are often eager to find ways to contribute in and outside of their own job responsibilities. They often exceed expectorations and go beyond the call of duty. They meet and surpass goals and can easily tell you how far they are from achieving a given metric on any given day. When top talent has begun to peek over fences to see if they can find a greener pasture, they may continue to meet expectations, but that’s probably all.

4. Boredom in the Board Room

If key employees stop weighing in on, and seem unconcerned by company decisions being made in meetings with employees, managers, executives and the board of directors, it’s likely that they have stopped envisioning their future with your company.

5. Disappearing Acts

When top talent are actively looking for new opportunities, their disappearing acts aren’t going to be limited to hours spent outside the workplace that they normally spend there. Other behaviors that might indicate job seeking activity are disappearing to take personal calls, taking calls in private when that has not been the norm, going outside to talk on the phone, or when personal items disappear from their office, cubicle or workspace.

5 Ways to Stop Employee Turnover in Its Tracks

Even before any of these signs employee turnover is coming turn up, there are things that you can – and should – do to strengthen the fabric of your company culture, so that top talent will be more invested and less likely to leave:

1. Find out what they really want in an employer.

Many business owners are afraid to ask employees questions like this out of a fear of obligation to implement change. They worry that what employees really want might be expensive or uncomfortable. But what’s worse or more expensive, losing top performers and then finding out what you could have done to keep them, or improving your business along the way?  When you are willing to fix what is not working in the company culture, you may just end up creating a culture that keeps top talent on board, because they cannot get the same quality of work life anywhere else.

2. Invest in skill development and training.

It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? After all, if you invest in employee development you might be training them to move on. Maybe, but your business is likely to reap benefits far greater in increased productivity, performance and profitability – far above the investment you make in development.  Plus, by fueling the high performer’s need to keep moving forward, you make it more likely that they will stay.

3. Find out what works best.

Every employee is not motivated by the same incentives, nor does every employee respond to opportunities for education, training and development the same way. Use team building tools and exercises to help discover differences in personality types, communication styles and learning preferences so you can better understand what makes top talent tick.

4. Find out what people want next.

Again, many employers are afraid to ask employees what they want the next step in their career progression to be or what type of achievement, office or position would represent a career-culminating achievement for them. But if you don’t ask, and you don’t talk about how ambitious high performers can move up in your company, you run the risk that they will perceive their options are limited with you – and move on.

5. Map it out.

Putting a plan for employee development and advancement on paper, including the necessary productivity markers, goals and measures that must happen on their side of the equation creates a subconscious commitment. It gives high performers the ambitious career opportunities they envision and the road map for how to get there – a road map that is also going to make your business better, bigger and more profitable.


5 Signs Employee Turnover is Coming + 5 Ways to Stop It In Its Tracks