Are Top Employees Planning to Quit?

 In Employee Engagement, Employees, Hiring, Human Resources, Managing COVID-19, Payroll, Recruiting, Training & Development

Losing a talented employee is the last thing company leaders need as we begin picking up the strands of our pre-pandemic lives, but it is something they need to think about. Here’s why: According to Prudential Financial’s March 2021 Pulse of the American Worker Survey, 1 in 4 employees plan to leave their job when the pandemic subsides. Thirty-four percent of millennials fell into this category, followed by 24% of Gen Xers. This is disturbing, especially considering that the loss of young, talented employees can impact a company’s succession plans.

Three main areas of concern

The three main areas of concern for these workers are:

  1. Flexibility. Some employees want a hybrid work environment so they can work remotely at least some of the time; some just want to get back to normal. The challenge is maintaining a company culture that engages all employees.
  2. Career advancement. This is going to remain an issue until company leaders prove they are giving on-site and remote employees the same access to learning, mentoring and promotions. Prudential’s survey found that 72% of workers were rethinking their skill sets. If their company makes them choose between training and flexible work, they may move on.
  3. Financial. Employees are concerned about all areas of financial wellness, from salary and benefits to retirement. One aspect of this concern is salary. The average pay increase is expected to be 2.1% in 2021, which may be a factor in people changing jobs.

Assessing where your business stands in regard to these three areas is a good place to start formulating a plan geared toward retaining top talent.

Look for telltale signs

After that is done, take a step back and evaluate whether your top talent is showing signs of leaving. Telltale signs include:

  • Disengagement. For example:
    • Responding late to meeting requests or not attending meetings.
    • Not reading emails in a timely manner.
    • Distancing from co-workers by doing things like not attending a weekly social event or not contributing as usual.
    • Not volunteering as usual at meetings and on assignments.
  • Arriving late or leaving early, particularly if this type of behavior is not typical for the employee.
  • Negative attitude. Employees who are thinking about leaving may have a negative attitude about the way things are done at the company or specific managers or co-workers. This red flag can be a sign that a valued employee is becoming disgruntled, or it may be that the employee is toxic, and it would not be a loss if he or she left the company.

Note that each of these signs needs to be monitored over a period of several months. This is a time of great disruption in the workplace, and anyone can have a few bad days.

Have a plan

Regularly checking on the satisfaction of top talent should be a priority for company leaders. Not only can the cost of replacing them be up to 200% of their salaries and benefits, but the loss of their company knowledge and the potential for other employees to follow suit can make the departure even more costly.

Speaking frankly with the employee and explaining why they were passed over for a promotion or not given a raise or a bonus can go a long way toward retaining them, especially if the employee is given training to improve the skills that were perceived as lacking.

Losing key talent now, at a time when nearly everyone is feeling vulnerable, is something company leaders should avoid.

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