Warning Signs an Employee is About to Quit

Recognizing the warning signs that an employee is on the verge of quitting is a crucial skill for any astute manager or business owner. The costs of employee turnover can be staggering, both in terms of finances and the impact on team dynamics.

By identifying these signs early, organizations have the opportunity to address concerns and take proactive steps to retain their valuable talent.

In this article, we will explore various behavioral, verbal, physical, and career-related indicators that may signify an employee’s intentions to leave.

Behavioral Signs

Decrease in Productivity

One of the most telling signs that an employee may be considering resignation is a decline in their productivity. A once high-performing individual might start missing deadlines, submitting subpar work, or struggling to meet targets. Look out for any uncharacteristic drop in their efficiency, as it could signal their waning commitment to the organization.

Lack of Interest in Work

When an employee loses enthusiasm for their work, it becomes apparent through their behavior. They may exhibit disinterest during meetings, show minimal effort in completing tasks, or fail to contribute ideas and suggestions. This lack of engagement can be a clear indication that they are mentally preparing to move on.

Increased Absenteeism

If an employee starts taking more unscheduled leaves or frequently arrives late without valid reasons, it might be a sign of their disengagement from the job. Absenteeism can indicate a lack of motivation and could indicate that the employee is exploring other opportunities outside the workplace.

Lack of Engagement in Meetings

In team meetings or collaborative discussions, an employee who is considering quitting may appear disengaged. They might stop actively participating, offer minimal input, or simply go through the motions without genuine involvement. This withdrawal from meaningful discussions can be a red flag for their impending departure.

Changes in Work Relationships

Pay attention to any noticeable shifts in an employee’s relationships with colleagues and superiors. If they start distancing themselves, exhibiting less camaraderie, or showing signs of discontent, it may indicate their growing dissatisfaction with the organization. These changes in work relationships could be indicative of their readiness to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Verbal Signs

Increased Negativity

When an employee becomes increasingly negative about their work or the organization, it can be a significant warning sign. They may frequently complain, express cynicism, or voice frustrations openly. Negative remarks and an overall pessimistic attitude suggest that they are emotionally disengaging and considering a change.

Less Participation in Conversations

A team member who is mentally preparing to quit may withdraw from social interactions at work. They might contribute less to conversations, engage in fewer casual discussions, or isolate themselves from the team. This diminishing involvement signifies their declining commitment to the workplace.

Expressing Dissatisfaction With Work

If an employee starts openly expressing dissatisfaction with their job, it should raise concerns. They may talk about feeling undervalued, unchallenged, or unsupported. These expressions of discontent signal their growing disillusionment and may foreshadow their intention to explore other career options.

Less Interest in Future Company Plans

When a team member demonstrates little curiosity or enthusiasm about the future plans and initiatives of the organization, it can be a sign that they are mentally disengaging. They might stop asking questions, offering suggestions, or seeking updates on long-term company goals. Their waning interest suggests they may not envision themselves as part of the organization’s future.

Physical Signs

Less Attention to Appearance

A decline in an employee’s overall personal presentation can indicate a shift in their commitment. They may start neglecting their grooming, dressing more casually, or displaying a general lack of professionalism. These physical signs could reflect their waning dedication to the job.

Less Adherence to Company Dress Code

If an employee consistently disregards the company’s dress code policy or shows a decline in adherence, it might imply their growing disengagement. Dressing inappropriately or deviating from established guidelines could suggest their diminishing concern for the workplace environment and its expectations.

Less Punctuality

A sudden pattern of arriving late to work or meetings can be an indication that an employee’s motivation is waning. They may display a lack of punctuality, frequently offer excuses for tardiness, or become increasingly unreliable in terms of meeting deadlines. These behaviors signify their diminishing commitment to their role.

Less Care for Work Area

An employee who once maintained a tidy and organized workspace might start neglecting their surroundings. Their workstation may become cluttered, untidy, or disorganized. This physical manifestation of their declining attention to detail or mental health suggests a diminishing level of investment in their current position.

Career Signs

Seeking Out New Job Opportunities

If an employee is actively searching for new job opportunities or attending job interviews, it’s a clear indication of their intention to leave. They might discreetly explore other positions, update their resume, or reach out to recruitment agencies. It’s essential to be aware of any signs an employee is about to quit and is exploring alternatives outside of the organization.

Taking On Fewer Responsibilities

When an employee starts shying away from taking on additional responsibilities or shows a decline in their initiative, it can be a sign of disengagement. They may avoid volunteering for new projects, passing up growth opportunities, or delegating tasks they once willingly accepted. This behavior indicates their decreasing investment in their current role.

Less Interest in Company Promotions

If an employee becomes indifferent or disinterested in pursuing promotions within the organization, it may signify their intention to leave. They might decline promotions, stop seeking career advancement discussions, or display apathy toward opportunities for growth. This lack of interest in progressing within the company suggests their fading commitment.

Lack of Commitment to Company Values

When an employee’s actions and behaviors deviate from the company’s core values, it could imply their decreasing alignment and commitment. They may exhibit a disregard for established principles, engage in conduct that contradicts company culture, or demonstrate a lack of enthusiasm for upholding the organization’s values. These deviations may be indicative of their disconnection and the employee’s impending departure.

How to Retain Employees

Creating a Positive Work Culture

Foster a positive work environment that promotes job satisfaction, mental health, and camaraderie. Cultivate a culture of appreciation, better work-life balance, recognition, and open communication, where employees feel valued and engaged.

Providing Opportunities for Professional Growth

Offer avenues for employees to develop their skills, knowledge, and career paths within the organization. Invest in training programs, mentorship initiatives, and professional development opportunities that demonstrate a commitment to their growth and advancement.

Encouraging Open Communication

Create an atmosphere of open dialogue where employees feel comfortable expressing concerns, providing feedback, and discussing their career aspirations. Actively listen to their ideas and address any grievances promptly to foster trust and engagement.

Offering Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Ensure that good employees are fairly compensated for their work and provide competitive benefits packages. Regularly review salaries to align with industry standards and acknowledge exceptional performance through merit-based rewards and recognition programs.


Recognizing the warning signs an employee is about to quit or jump ship is crucial for any organization aiming to retain its valuable talent. By paying attention to behavioral, verbal, physical, and career-related indicators, employers can intervene early and implement strategies to address concerns, foster engagement, and promote employee retention. Remember, proactive efforts to retain employees not only save the organization from the high costs of employee turnover but also contribute to a positive and thriving work environment for everyone involved.

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