Employee Alert – Reduce Turnover by Recognizing Signs of Dissatisfaction
January 1, 2015
sad woman

How to reduce turnover by recognizing the signs of unhappy employees.

You HR pros know the deal – getting a decent employee out of the resume pile is an exercise in patience and hope – even if you do land a big fish there’s a world of difference between looking good on paper and being able to actually perform on the job. Figuring out how to reduce turnover (especially in your best hires) can erase a lot of the headache from your schedule.

Reducing the churn also makes for a happy boss. First of all, you’re not losing those top-tier employees. Second, the business doesn’t suffer a workflow slowdown when an important position is vacated. Third, you save a nice chunk of time and change when you don’t have to go out headhunting.

So here are a couple of ways to recognize when those big fish are eyeing the exit sign. A little preventative effort can make a big difference when you’re trying to reduce turnover.

They Say So

Starting with the most obvious – the employee is saying out loud that they’re not happy. Maybe they’re not happy with their pay, maybe they think they should have been chosen for that promotion. Perhaps they’re feeling like they can’t perform their job properly because of micromanagement.

You know your work environment well enough to know which kinds of complaints are the most likely to rise. There’s an added problem with this particular sign – it can get the morale of other employees down.

Step 1 – Figure out if the complaints are legitimate or if the person is just a belly-acher. You can’t fix something that isn’t broken.

Step 2 – If the complaints are indeed legitimate then getting to work to fix them not only helps you to reduce turnover in the one employee, but chances are the problems may have been weighing heavily on the minds of other workers too. Many birds killed, only one stone used.

If the particular problem is that an employee is feeling slighted because they weren’t chosen for a promotion you can offer to help them get training in skills that will make them a juicier choice for upper management the next time another promotion rolls around.

They’re Here But They’re Not Present

If your talent starts to “phone in” their performance – they’re no longer happy, they only communicate with other employees when they absolutely have to, he or she no longer cares about their production quality – there’s a good chance that they’re no longer invested in their job.

Their next move may very well be to wander on over to the want ads in the hopes that they can find something that will rejuvenate them.

In this case the employee may be feeling like they’ve done everything they can in their particular area and have nothing more to contribute. To reduce turnover try giving them a new assignment – have them get invested in a different section of the company, or give them new responsibilities.

Day-off Bonanzas

The employee starts rolling through all of their vacation and sick time like it’s going out of style. There’s a chance that they’re using up their days because they’re on their way out.

Casual Dress Changes to Dress-for-Success

The tip to help reduce turnover here is to keep a watchful eye on an employee who has suddenly upped their usual dressing habits. Add that to an employee who vanishes during their lunch hour and you might be on to someone who is going to interviews during the working day.

Is it Them… Or is it You?

If you identify these symptoms in one or two employees then maybe you just have a trouble employee on your hands. Some employees may not even be worth the effort of trying to reduce turnover.

However if those same symptoms surface in more than a couple of employees then the problem quite possibly doesn’t lie with your talent – it lies with you.

That means the above symptoms are indicative of a corporate culture where the management is completely disconnected (or just plain doesn’t care about) the people in the lower tiers. In that case physician heal thine own self.

Either way it pays to keep your eyes open.