4 Signs Your Star Employee Is About to Leave

In a strengthening economy, the ability to retain top talent is the key to maintaining a competitive advantage. However, during times of increased business activity, the competition for star performers becomes intense. According to Express Employment Professionals’ third quarter 2018 Job Insights survey, 66% of respondents reported a “lack of available applicants” as the top reason jobs go unfilled—a 78% increase quarter over quarter.

Opportunities abound for talented, skilled workers. In many job markets, the pool of applicants with the right mix of experience and expertise is drying up, giving the most qualified candidates more freedom to be selective about where they work. And even your most loyal, star performers aren’t completely immune to the allure of jumping ship for a new opportunity with another company. So, it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs that your best and brightest are starting to wander.

Here are four signs your star employee may be about to leave.

The competition is hiring
It’s a job seekers’ market and businesses are going the extra mile to be more creative in the way they recruit—including enticing skilled workers away from other companies. It’s a natural product of a strengthening economy, so keeping a finger on the pulse of local business activity will help you stay informed about the opportunities out there that could attract your best workers.

They stop going the extra mile
Top performers take pride in their work and often strive to overdeliver on expectations. So, they likely won’t all of a sudden stop meeting deadlines or let the quality of their work start to slip, but they may put less effort in going above and beyond.

They’re more hesitant to commit to long-term projects
Seeing a project through from beginning to end is important to high achievers. If one of your most reliable employees is reluctant to commit to a new, long-term initiative, it may be a sign that they already know they won’t be around to finish it.

They stop actively trying to advance in the company
Star employees are growth-minded and always have a hand reaching for the next rung on the corporate ladder. If they start easing back on that forward momentum all of a sudden, it could be a sign they are courting offers from another company that can give their careers a bigger boost.

Being attentive to your employees and recognizing the early signs that your star performers are heading for the door gives you the opportunity to take action. In many instances, a discussion about what other companies are offering that may entice them to make a move, could help identify ways to enhance your employee retention strategy.

What are some signs you watch for that indicate whether a star performer is about to leave? What are some methods that help retain them? Let us know in the comments section below.

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10 Responses to 4 Signs Your Star Employee Is About to Leave

  1. Keith Weedman July 3, 2018 at 7:02 am #

    Effective leadership is the key to retaining top talent and in supporting top talent in leaving at the right time for the right reasons. It involves effectively wearing the hat called coach and having your focus include empowering each person who reports to you to unleash hidden potential and their passion. And as long as you consistently and effectively keep doing this, your team members will be raving fans of yours and their actions will be synergistic with yours. And when it is time for any one of your team members to leave to continue elevating their skills and pursuing their passion, you will know because you will be actively supporting them in this endeavor. And you will have another rising star who will be ready to advance into that star’s former position as you unleash hidden potential within each and every member. And you and your company will experience many expected and unexpected benefits as a result of you consistently taking these actions.

    • Refresh Leadership July 3, 2018 at 9:33 am #

      You said it perfectly: “… empowering each person who reports to you to unleash hidden potential and their passion.” Top performers will often come in with some degree of talent, but a great leader who recognizes that talent can set it free! Thanks for the comment!

  2. Kathy July 3, 2018 at 8:00 am #

    Wow… Spot on. I am moving on after 24 years with our company and observed myself doing all of these.

    • Refresh Leadership July 3, 2018 at 9:23 am #

      Congratulations and good luck on your next step! Thanks for the comment, Kathy!

    • E July 3, 2018 at 10:11 am #

      Kathy–Congrats! and all the best on your new chapter.

  3. Mark Pettis July 3, 2018 at 11:05 am #

    A feeling of losing, when you begin to become complacent with failure. Accountability or the lack thereof, will result in employee turnover, which is a red flag that will cause your best to leave.

  4. Dan DeGroat July 3, 2018 at 3:03 pm #

    5. Burning vacation or accrued comp time. 6. Hush-hush phone calls from work. 7. They are in a role beneath their competency level and you currently have nothing upward to offer.

  5. Bryan Scott July 4, 2018 at 12:56 am #

    Your best never bites the hand that feeds them at all cost,which actual is the definition of the best specifically in regards to employee’s.

  6. Bill koz July 9, 2018 at 7:02 am #

    It took me 2 years and 4 months to get hired on to my job current job which will be 4 years total in August because of express pros. Thank you guys, you got me a great job, which got me a condo close enough to walk to work. Thank you Dennis Marrell and josh gallon for believing in me. Can’t thank you enough .!!!!

  7. AJT July 10, 2018 at 7:23 am #

    I have lost just about all my key employees, I have been here over 30 years and I see it slipping away.

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