Real People. Real Stories. Real Business.
Chris Bell

5 Warning Signs your Employees are about to leave

Rarely will someone remain in the same job for their entire career, but in recent years switching between jobs has become far more common. It may be simply for a change of pace, it could be for a new take on the work or it might be because the employee believes they have no further room to progress. But change can be intimidating, letting go of a steady job in order to try something new can be a risk. If one of your key employees is displaying these warning signs, it may be time to have a talk.
1. If they feel under-utilised

If you’ve spent a lot of time developing your skills and abilities in order to offer the best possible performance at your job, it can be quite disheartening if that job then doesn’t require you to use your full ability in the course of your work. If an employee has abilities that you know aren’t being used to their potential, it may be worth talking to them and seeing if you can help them to find a way to use their ability.

2. Their progression has stagnated

Progressing through a company and climbing the managerial ladder is a big motivator for a lot of employees to go above and beyond. But if the wrong circumstances align, they can end up in a position where they can’t be promoted. A key employee’s progression can stagnate and become locked in place purely because the business, or that employee’s direct manager, feels they cannot afford for that employee to assume other duties. If an employee becomes indispensable in a position and wants to progress, their departure would be even more damaging than just progressing them as that expertise and ability is gone.

3. A lack of faith in their manager

A relationship built on trust is vital for a functioning working relationship and, recently, a loss of faith appears to be sweeping across Britain. According to a survey of 500 UK employees, conducted by, about 60% of employees across multiple sectors in the UK believe that they’d be a better manager than their direct superior. The reasons for this could range from a false impression of superiority on behalf of the employee to a genuine problem with the line manager’s approach to work, but one thing is certain – if someone believes they are better than their boss, they could well be planning to leave and that dynamic requires closer examination.

4. Loss of Enthusiasm

An unenthusiastic employee can be damaging to a company, if they are disinterested in the work then their negative attitude can spread to other co-workers and lead to productivity problems. If you observe that an employee’s enthusiasm for their job is going, it’s a clear warning sign that they may soon start looking for a new job role. If the employee was formerly a high performer, diagnosing what has lead to this change and how to help that employee become inspired again is vital.

5. A lack of challenge

Some employees are happy within a certain niche and enjoy working away on the same material every day. But some need a challenge. They want to feel that they’re doing something different and exciting every day and if you have an employee like that, it’s important that you keep them engaged with new tasks and new challenges. If they are left to stagnate then they will likely become bored of their work and seek new opportunities.

If you recognise these signs in a key employee, it is vital you talk with them sooner rather than after they hand in their notice.