As the dust of COVID begins to settle, organizations are looking around to evaluate the damage. One of the biggest problems emerging is retaining top talent. In some cases, team members were furloughed or let go because of a lack of business. For others, the last year and a half symbolized an era of overwhelming workloads. A year of instability made lots of people question things, which makes it understandably common for many to consider whether they’re happy with their current job.
As many businesses transition back to a “normal” schedule (which will likely include flexible, work-from-home opportunities), leaders are concerned they’ll lose more key members of their workforce. They want to understand how to keep the rest of their team engaged and motivated.
How to Tell if Your Team Member Is Ready to Quit
Unfortunately, there’s no crystal ball that will tell you when someone is about to quit. Granted, if you see copies of their resume flying out of the printer, there’s little doubt that they’re looking to leave. In lieu of psychic predictions, there are things leaders can watch for that indicate a team member may be unhappy and considering an exit strategy:
- Their quality of work is down.
- They’re less engaged in in-person conversations and meetings
- They’re less responsive to email or chat communication.
- They’re not connecting their work to the future or tackling long-term projects that would normally make up a portion of their workload. In other words, their work indicates they’re just doing enough to get to the next day.
- They begin to show up late or leave early with regularity, or frequently ask for additional paid time off beyond their usual allotment.
Keep in mind, each of these symptoms can stem from having a bad week, going through emotional turmoil outside of work, or struggling to adjust to life after the pandemic. The key for leaders is to recognize these symptoms and make an effort to check in. Why? Because losing top talent costs time and resources. But more importantly, checking in and retaining top talent is a sign that your culture is rock solid.
Because no matter what the core problem is, leaders who ignore these issues are missing opportunities to benefit their organization’s culture of support. And without support, it’s only a matter of time before even the most dedicated person on your team decides to leave.
Tips to Help Team Members Rebound
Often, the most effective way to pull team members out of a rut is to ask how they’re doing. It shows that you care, notice the difference in their work, and that you’re committed to supporting them however you can.
Here are five ways you can help your team members rebound from the edge of quitting.
- Conduct regular check-ins — Make an extra effort beyond your normal one-on-one meetings to check in with team members who seem to be struggling. Don’t just focus on tasks. Ask about their future plans and, when appropriate, ask how they’re doing emotionally. Sincerely listen to all their concerns and offer support however possible.
- Celebrate team members — Recognition is a core need for all employees and it fosters a genuine sense of inclusion.
- Re-energize the vision — Place a renewed focus on a vision for the future of the organization to infuse employees with an energized understanding of the larger mission.
- Lead the challenge — Set clear expectations while creating work for the individual that offers genuine challenge and significance.
- Create a path — Design a strategy for your organization’s commitment to growth and development that leads to the opportunity for meaningful careers at all levels
And remember, sometimes it’s simply time to part ways. When a team member does decide to leave, support their decision and allow for a smooth transition. Taking the time and energy to make their departure a positive one makes it more likely they’ll become an ally in your future recruiting efforts rather than an adversary.
The most effective way to entice your team to stay is to create an exceptional culture where it’s easy to love coming into work.
Find out what it takes to revamp your culture and renew your team’s passion. Download our free resource: The Innovative Leader’s Guide to Transforming Company Culture…Starting with Yourself.
Author, Speaker, and Change Agent.
Chris leads a dynamic team of passionate change agents who are dedicated to partnering with organizational executives to create cultures that inspire, engage and ignite the best in people. Our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams and align operation practices to delighting the customer and drive breakthrough results.