While progressing in your career path almost always involves moving from one organisation to another, losing key staff is always a significant loss to a business. After all the hours investing in staff mentoring, training and nurturing, the last thing you want is to lose them to a competitor.

The tell-tale signs that separate soon-to-quit staff from the rest of your workforce could help you make vital changes to retain your valued staff and prevent them from walking out the door, thus improving staff retention.

To help, our team of experts here at Property Personnel have carefully identified the top signs to look out for that could indicate if an employee is about to hand in their resignation.

Signs an employee is about to quit

How do you know when an employee is about to quit?

Changes in appearance

While many places of work tend to adopt a smart casual dress code, or ‘dress down Fridays’, in corporate office environments, noticeable changes in your employee’s appearance could be a significant giveaway that they are looking to leave.

A dramatic shift to formal attire and close attention to personal grooming could indicate your employee might be popping out during their lunch break or as soon as they clock off to attend an interview. However, a sudden lack of effort or noticeable dressing down could also indicate a disgruntled staff member who is making less of an effort due to being dissatisfied in their role.

Attitude changes

A change in attitude is one of the stand-out signs that an employee is looking to quit their job. Attitude speaks volumes; a change of attitude towards work tasks in particular is a big sign to look out for. Have you noticed certain colleagues have stopped contributing to team meetings and brainstorms? Perhaps their level of input has dropped, and they seem vacant and disinterested in any broader company issues?

While there could be alternative personal explanations for attitude shifts in the workplace, such as personal struggles, health issues or financial difficulties, an impending resignation letter could be the culprit.

If creativity, enthusiasm and contributions in meetings have ground to a halt, this attitude change could indicate that your employee is soon to quit.

Changes in attendance

A team member that is repeatedly showing up late to work or taking an unusually high number of sick days could be looking to leave. The same could be true of an employee who suddenly starts arriving and leaving dead on time, when they would usually make an effort to stay and complete their daily tasks, or one who begins to take routinely longer lunch breaks than they have before.

These signs could indicate that the employee has stopped caring about their work and has developed an apathetic attitude towards their role. Repeated lateness could also demonstrate unhappiness and a sense of fatigue is a key sign to look out for in your workforce.

Lack of a sense of humour

While every person is different, and a sense of humour isn’t a prerequisite for all positions, a noticeable shift in humour could be a sign that your colleague is about to jump ship.

If everyday office banter at the water cooler or jokes about the last team social have now dried up among certain staff, and they are not acting like they previously would have done, it could be they have stopped making an effort with co-workers because they are planning to leave.

Changes in personal life

Disruption to a colleague’s personal life could be a significant catalyst that could lead to them quitting their job.

Relationship changes, family life disruptions and bereavements are examples of life events to keep on your managerial radar.

Personal phone calls

Noticed a team member repeatedly dipping out of the office to take more personal calls? From recruitment companies on the case, to being called to attend first or second interviews, an increased number of personal calls during work hours could be an indication that a colleague is looking to quit.


Finally, if you have a ‘gut feeling’ that someone in your team is thinking about leaving, trust your intuition. You make a habit of monitoring your employee’s wellbeing so, if something feels different, a potential resignation could be the reason for it.

What to do

If you have noticed any of the above signs in your team and are concerned about what to do next, you could try the following:

  • Arrange a one-to-one meeting – this will give you and your colleague a chance to talk openly about their personal situation so you can try and establish where the changes have come from. This meeting could reveal a significant personal issue or health problem, which could be worked through in order to retain your staff.
  • Establish a plan – open and honest communication with your colleagues, together with establishing an agreed plan moving forward could be all it takes to keep your employee happy. Small tweaks to working hours, salary or career progression plans could lead to your colleague deciding to stay.
  • Increased responsibility – while a pay dispute is generally a reason for staff to feel undervalued, it could be that your colleague is no longer feeling challenged or enriched by their role. Discuss career ambitions with your team member, as it could be that exposing them to more responsibility could keep them happy and make them want to stay with your company.
  • Prepare – if your colleague is set on leaving despite your best efforts to keep them, it is time for you as a manager to prepare. Use the time wisely to look to recruit well in advance and begin the interview process as soon as possible.

Find out more

At Property Personnel, we provide specialist knowledge of the property recruitment market that will help us find the perfect candidate for your business. Click here to read more about why you should choose us as your recruitment agency or contact us today to speak to one of our expert team.