Let me start by saying that GREAT companies and managers do exist—ones that care about their employees and their wellbeing. Unfortunately, that isn’t that case for all employees. Some people end up being just a number and a blank face in their organization, and others fall into the abyss of workplace drama and culture issues.
Certain factors keep employees from walking out, such as stability, finances, and families. There’s also that little, itty-bitty ping of guilt in the back of their mind that tells them “quitting and giving up is wrong.”
But as talent industry players, we know that’s not always the case. In the current job market, no one has to stay in an environment or situation where getting motivated for work is the hardest thing they do. So how can we know when our talent is considering that option? Well, obviously it’s not an easy decision, but there are red flags, and you as a manager should know the signs.
Here’s how to spot a burnt-out employee getting ready to make moves and what you can do to stop them:
- Lack of Effort Stemmed from Underappreciation – You know the feeling when you’ve been busting your “arse,” killing it with clients, being a kick butt manager, and taking on extra work to help team members or even your boss? That feeling can be rewarding or bitter depending on one crucial ingredient: recognition. All employees crave it in some form. Whether it is team or individually-focused, everyone wants to know that they are appreciated and the job they’re doing is making a difference.From the mailroom to the boardroom, recognition is vital. Without it, employees feel undervalued, depressed, and less confident, which in turn leads to low-quality work and engagement. Everyone has an off day, or even a week that sets them back. Keep an eye out for increased errors, low interest in team activities, and consistent absences (even if believable excuses have been given). This employee is gearing up to split, and it will take some attentive coaching to pull them back in!
- Sarcastic Comments About Training and Tools – Having less than sufficient resources can seem like a minor issue, but in reality, it impacts a lot of companies, and it becomes a detriment to workers. Feeling like you lack the training and tools to do a job adds stress and prevents employees from excelling at their positions–not to mention the blow to morale. If your employees feel they cannot shine in their roles and become increasingly vocal about it, it may not be your fault…but it could be your company’s.Taking the time to give feedback, follow-up, and offer quick tips that make less efficient action items flow better could make the difference in how your employee views their position. When faced with negative feedback from your talent, show that you know there is an issue and actively try to help alleviate some obstacles.
- The Sighs of Irritability – Huff! Ugh! Long Sigh! Ah, the soundtrack to frustrated talent. Think about the last negative conversation you overheard from one of your team members. How much did they complain about the job, your team, or work in general? How many times do you think your employees have mentally said, “forget it” and talked themselves out of the job within 20 seconds? Have you done it yourself? It’s likely you have, and the feelings you’ve experienced are the same they currently battle.Instead of combatting their frustrations, be an advocate for their feelings. Relating to your staff lets them know that they are heard and their ideas are valid. Leveling with your team gives them the confidence to be open with you, so you can get the info you need to drive meaningful change for your talent.
Be the Captain
Obviously, you’ve been doing some much-needed research on retaining your best players, or somehow, someway you happened upon this article. With knowledge of these warning signs and an action plan for driving purpose and a sense of accomplishment on your team, you can keep the best members of your crew.