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by Kayla Heisler via Fairygodboss | July 30, 2019


Is it possible to tell when a coworker is about to quit? Researchers at the Harvard Business Review asked nearly 100 managers how the behavior of their peers and subordinates shifted in the months prior to their voluntary departures. Additionally, researchers surveyed 100 employees to find out how their own behavior shifted prior to their own voluntary departures. Here are some of the top pre-quitting behaviors according to researchers.

1. Decreasing productivity

If you notice that an employee who usually gets a lot done has significantly slowed down, this may be a sign that they’re on their way out.

2. Turning into a lone wolf

When an employee who’s typically a team player stops working with others, consider taking this as a sign that the employee is ready to leave. The about-to-depart employee's thinking could be: I won’t be seeing my coworkers for much longer, so I'm breaking away.

3. Putting in the bare minimum

Employees who are naturally hard workers typical stand out. Take notice if an employee has stopped going above and beyond and is now only sticking to the status quo or, worse, doing the absolute minimum to get by.

4. Stopping trying to please the manager

Displays of apathy can make it apparent that someone is considering leaving. Employees who have become indifferent may be doing so because they know that their boss won’t be their boss for much longer.

5. No longer investing in long-term deadlines

Someone who knows that they won't be around to see a project come to fruition is less likely to put in maximum effort than someone who knows they'll be around to see the end result. 

6. Being uncharacteristically negative

When the person in your office who's typically upbeat starts seeing the glass half-empty, it could be a sign that they aren't long for your company. A drastic personality shift can signal that an employee is fed up and heading out.

7. Losing motivation

Employees on their way out are not as likely to display interest in completing tasks on time or completing them well. When they know they won't be working towards any promotion or recognition, their drive to do well can sharply decrease.

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.