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5 Signs an Employee is Preparing to Quit

Have you ever been surprised to learn that a co-worker or direct report just resigned? Here are 5 things to keep your eye on if you feel like someone is half way out the door:

  1. PERSONAL ITEMS ARE BEING REMOVED FROM THEIR WORK SPACE
    Cleaning up your area is a common practice and is not always cause for alarm. However, when an employee is preparing to leave, many will begin the process by removing items from their office. This helps their exit by creating less of a spectacle when they do resign. No-one wants to hand in their notice and have to spend the next few hours cleaning out their desk while everyone watches.

  2. THEY STOP QUESTIONING PROJECTS AND TASKS ASSIGNED TO THEM
    If a team member is prepping to quit, they have already emotionally disengaged with their role. Once that happens, they are more likely to accept projects and tasks that they might have previously questioned. They have no reason to resist taking on new activities because they know they won’t be responsible for completing them. They also might be more likely to blindly agree with or support opinions without challenging or contributing.

  3. THEIR ONCE STANDARD WARDROBE IS UPGRADED
    Going on a shopping spree and upgrading your wardrobe can be a very normal activity. If you are already suspicious of a potential exit, notice if they are dressing differently. Someone who is interviewing or planning for a new job might upgrade their appearance in order to impress a future employer. “What if they actually are dressing down?” In my opinion, the dressing down happens when the exit is being considered. If you notice a team member starts wearing less and less formal clothes, showing up later, leaving earlier and skating by in general- this is the time to intentionally engage if you are hoping to course correct before an exit.

  4. SUDDENLY, THEY ARE ALL ABOUT LINKEDIN
    Many professionals regularly use Linkedin for a variety of reasons. If your once silent Linkedin connection is frequently popping up in your feed, you might take a closer look. Job seekers are more likely to engage with connections, update their resume and add content to their profile on Linkedin.

  5. THEY OVER-SPLAIN
    Where they are going, why they need the day off, what they are working on. In general, people are uncomfortable with the lying and guilt associated with quitting. Maybe they feel bad about abandoning co-workers, letting down their boss, or “jumping ship”. Some people combat these feelings by going out of their way to not get “caught”.

What are some other signs that you or others have shown when preparing to leave a job? What could have been done that would have made you change your mind, and when? Share your thoughts in the comments below.