There are usually early warning signs when someone is thinking about resigning. You may be faced with a resignation if suddenly an employee:
- Changes his or her behavior. An employee may start coming in later, leaving earlier or taking much longer lunches.
- Begins performing poorly. A once great employee begins missing deadlines or turning in unacceptable work.
- Withdraws and stops participating. He or she used to contribute at meetings and was willing to take on extra assignments. Now the employee lets those opportunities to contribute pass by.
- Makes wistful references to other organizations—their vacation policies or compensation practices, for example—or makes wistful references to former employees who have left.
- Begins complaining, something that is out of the norm for the person.
If the employee is someone you’d hate to lose, don’t ignore those warning signs. Meet with the person, tell him or her what you’ve noticed, and admit that you’re concerned because you value his or her contribution and want to keep him or her. Ask “What can I do to keep you on staff?”
By bringing the subject into the open, you can often make adjustments that can make a valued employee—who might have been very close to becoming a former employee—decide to stay.