Employee Is About to Quit

How to Tell If an Employee Is About to Quit

While it’s normal for companies to see their employees go, high turnover rate can be a handicap, especially if you’re losing your top performers. Anticipating their departure will help you come up with a plan to retain them, and here are some of the signs you should look out for.


Start with the obvious. Pay attention to how an employee looks. As they look into other opportunities before filing their resignation, they will be attending interviews. If your employee starts dressing sharper than usual, sporting new haircuts, and, for women, putting on better makeup, they may be trying to impress job interviewers.

They might be leaving if you observe the opposite, too. The appearance would reflect it if someone who feels neglected, unfulfilled, displeased, and discouraged in their job. They may start paying less attention to grooming and hygiene, and dress more informally. This indicates that the employee does not care for their position anymore and is giving up.

Worse attendance

Someone who is looking for other jobs must make time for the application process. If a usually-punctual person starts showing up late to work, takes a lot of sick days, and leaves work too early, they could be interviewing somewhere else.

Worse attendance is also a sign that an employee is developing apathy towards their job. They do not care if they are late, absent or undertime anymore, and their minds might be set on getting out. These could also be manifestations of their unhappiness and dissatisfaction, and that it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to clock in and accomplish work.


Check your performance tracker or people analytics for abrupt changes in performance. Since they are on their way out, employees who are about to quit would not pay much attention to their jobs. They may be physically present in the workplace, but do not actually do work and are absently going through the motions, instead. This could be a good performer who is suddenly late in submitting reports or output, or someone whose sales have drastically dropped.

Alternatively, they may feel guilty about wanting to leave and over-perform. Top-performing employees who seek greener pastures tend to do this. They hope to leave on good terms, so they go out on a limb to make a great impression. They could also be rushing so they leave nothing incomplete. If you are surprised with their performance, despite taking some days off, this employee must be on their way out.


Sudden changes in behavior, such as detachment, sudden attachment or patience, may signify that someone is on their way out. They would distance themselves from coworkers, keep to themselves and not join in conversations. They may also go out to lunch together more often to commiserate with colleagues. When disagreement arises, those who used to push back may no longer bother, since they have emotionally checked out. They will also be uncomfortable discussing long-term deadlines and projects, and attempt to be vague or noncommittal.

Each individual behaves in unique ways. The signs that are applicable to some, might not be applicable to others. The best thing you can do is be perceptive. And even if you see these signs on someone, do not act as if they already walked out the door.

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