Article: Subtle tell-all signs that your colleague is quitting

Employee Relations

Subtle tell-all signs that your colleague is quitting

The thought of quitting an organisation starts germinating in the mind of an employee much before he finally puts in his paper.
Subtle tell-all signs that your colleague is quitting

Rajesh couldn’t believe what he heard. His office buddy Ravi has put in his papers to ‘pursue more challenging job’ somewhere else. It was yesterday that both of them along with their team were cracking jokes, sharing office related issues, having lunch – but none of them, in their wildest of imaginations, would have thought that Ravi will quit the very next day. But was it really difficult for the team to see the changes in Ravi’s behaviour in the past few months? Ravi has been giving subtle hints (without even knowing them) through his work, attitude that he is soon going to resign. 

This is that time of the year when the big churn happens in most of the organisations – employees quit and then get on-board. But it’s not sudden. The thought of quitting an organisation starts germinating in the mind of an employee much before he finally puts in his paper. 

An efficient manager, if s/he minutely observes, can tell when his team member or a colleague has decided to jump ship. So what are those tell-all signs? 

Work timings

Did you just notice that your diligent co-worker is often coming late for work citing ‘personal’ reasons? Or even going back home right on time ‘to avoid terrible traffic’? These are just excuses which employees come up when they have important interview calls to attend, and a subtle way to let you know that he is slowly becoming disinterested in the current work. However, the trick is to see how ‘often’ he/she is late to work. There might be some valid reasons (may be personal hiccups) why he/she is in a hurry to go back home – in that case, the manager should be in the knowhow. But if it isn’t, then you are possibly looking at someone who has decided to leave the organisation.

Conveniently ‘forgets’ work/delegates work

So you are calling up your colleague to know whether he/she has sent the important email to a client or even finished the projects on time. If there has been no information about these things, which otherwise come to you without being asked, it’s time you start smelling the ‘coffee’. An employee, who is interested in work, will never let you down on big projects and its deadlines. He will not wait for you to call or text, rather it’s a different high to let others know that he/she has finished projects/work on time.

Takes sudden ‘sick’ leaves

It’s an old trick, but if your colleague starts taking leaves on the pretext of health, or even goes on unplanned holidays all of a sudden, then you will know it’s time to say goodbye! An employee, who is otherwise regular at work, will only start neglecting his projects when he is prepared to leave the organisation. 

Becomes more social or less social

Broadly we always see two sets of people at work – gregarious and shy. Somebody who is jumping the ship will eventually become recluse or more social depending on his character. It can also happen vice-versa. A shy person can often become friendlier with office colleagues and can take everybody by surprise, which might lead others to think that he is ‘opening up’ to become ‘culture fit’. But in reality, opposite is the case. He is just making contacts with people who are soon going to be his ex-colleagues.

Any kind of personal development

If one of your team members is getting married, going the family way, or even sudden personal loss – which might add on to the financial pressure on his/her pocket, then there is a chance that he might be considering other offers available in the market which might give him that financial shot. An enterprising employee will look for ‘better’ options to help him cope with any personal development. And if you fail to anticipate the move, and not react even during appraisal, then he is soon going to take a lucrative offer.

Prints a lot of ‘important’ personal mails/articles

Frequent visit to the printing machine to get ‘important’ printouts is a hint that you should not brush it under the carpet. Either the employee is keeping all the paperwork in place, or he is taking prints of his resume. He/she will keep asking if his workstation is connected with the printer. Because taking prints from your or others’ laptops is not the option.

Ideates less

When you see your hard working colleague hardly working on any exciting idea, doesn’t participate enthusiastically in meetings, doesn’t provide solutions to problems of his team members – and this becomes a regular affair, you will know that your colleague is up for other challenges outside your organisation.

Along with these there are other cues which can give you the hint that your colleague is quitting, like hooked on to personal emails, phone calls, takes frequent coffee breaks, and doesn’t pitch in for long-term projects. Once you have guessed about his resignation, it’s time to surprise him instead of getting surprised by him.

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Topics: Employee Relations, Watercooler

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