Will They Stay or Go?

17 Nov Will They Stay or Go?

Will They Stay or Go?
Excerpted from Harvard Business Review

To help managers identify employees at risk of quitting, professors investigated this question and uncovered a set of behavioral changes exhibited by employees that are strong predictors of voluntary quits in the 12 months after they are observed by managers.

The pre-quitting behaviors are:
1. Their work productivity has decreased more than usual.
2. They have acted less like a team player than usual.
3. They have been doing the minimum amount of work more frequently than usual.
4. They have been less interested in pleasing their manager than usual.
5. They have been less willing to commit to long-term timelines than usual.
6. They have exhibited a negative change in attitude.
7. They have exhibited less effort and work motivation than usual.
8. They have exhibited less focus on job related matters than usual.
9. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their current job more frequently than usual.
10. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their supervisor more frequently than usual.
11. They have left early from work more frequently than usual.
12. They have lost enthusiasm for the mission of the organization.
13. They have shown less interest in working with customers than usual.

They investigated how accurately the 13 core pre-quitting behaviors predicted future voluntary turnover. In January and February of 2014, they asked a large sample of managers, all employed with different companies, to use the 13-item survey to describe recent behavioral changes by a randomly selected subordinate. Then, 12 months later they contacted the managers again to see if these employees were still employed or had voluntarily quit. The employees who exhibited the signs above had an expected probability of turnover two times the typical employee.

What to do? For managers, their advice is to focus on retaining star employees in the short-term. So the next time you have an inkling about whether someone is about to leave, know that you may be onto something when you take the right indicators into account.

The full study and article was prepared by:
Timothy M. Gardner is an Associate Professor of Management at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.
Peter W. Hom is a Professor of Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University