6 Quitting Signs of Top Employees | To Watch Out For


As a manager, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs that one of your employees may be considering quitting their job.

Early detection gives you the opportunity to address their concerns and take proactive measures to retain valuable talent in your organization.

Here are some of the most common employee quitting signs to watch out for:

Employee Quitting Signs

An empty office desk with a turned over picture frame, a half-full coffee mug, and an open drawer.

6 Top Employee Quitting Signs to Watch Out For

Key Takeaways

  • Decreased job satisfaction can be an indicator of an employee leaving.
  • Increased absenteeism or tardiness may signal disengagement and the possibility of quitting.
  • A lack of initiative or motivation could be a sign that an employee is preparing to leave.
  • Increased job searching activities may suggest that an employee is exploring new opportunities.
  • Disinterest in career development opportunities can be a warning sign of employee resignation


1.  Decreased Job Satisfaction

One of the most significant signs that an employee may be considering leaving their job is a noticeable decrease in their job satisfaction.

Paying close attention to the signs of employee disengagement is critical to keeping valuable talent.

While it’s normal for people to experience fluctuations in their mood or energy levels, you should be concerned if the changes are abrupt, persist over time, or affect their overall work performance.

Here are some indicators of an employee leaving:

  • Low Productivity: A lack of enthusiasm or interest in daily tasks may result in reduced productivity and output. Pay attention to any sudden dips in work quality or speed.
  • Disengagement: A disengaged employee may seem to be going through the motions, completing tasks but not engaging with them actively. They are more likely to make mistakes or overlook details.

Low morale, conflicts with team members, or dissatisfaction with management can contribute to diminished job satisfaction and should be taken seriously.

Suppose you notice any of these signs of employee disengagement,

In that case, it’s essential to approach the employee and have an open and honest conversation about their concerns and explore ways to resolve them.

“Disengagement is a sign of unhappiness, and it’s better to address unhappy employees directly and see if you can make changes to improve their job satisfaction.” – Peter Capelli

2.  Increased Absenteeism or Tardiness

One of the most significant warning signs of employee disengagement and potential resignation is an increase in absenteeism or tardiness.

Employees who are no longer motivated by their work or have lost faith in their company’s vision and culture may begin to miss more days or arrive late.

If you notice an employee taking more time off or consistently coming in late, it’s essential to investigate the root cause.

There could be various reasons for increased absenteeism and tardiness, ranging from personal issues to work-related problems.

For example, an employee may face a personal crisis, such as a family illness or a divorce, that causes them to miss work.

Alternatively, they may be experiencing work-related stress or burnout, leading to a lack of motivation and a decline in attendance.

Another possibility is that an employee is actively job searching and using sick days or coming in late to attend interviews or networking events.

In this case, the employee may be disengaged and no longer committed to their current role.

Thus, it is essential to track attendance patterns and address any concerns proactively to prevent losing valuable talent.

An empty office desk with a calendar marked with multiple dates circled in red, signifying missed work days.

3.  Increased Lack of Initiative or Motivation

As I stated before, an employee’s lack of motivation or initiative can be a sign that they are preparing to quit.

A decrease in enthusiasm and participation in team activities, as well as a decline in work quality, can be red flags of employee disengagement and quitting.

It’s important to address this issue promptly and proactively. I suggest having a one-on-one meeting with the employee to discuss their career goals and any challenges they may be facing in their current role.

This can help you to identify any areas where they may need additional training or support.

Additionally, consider offering incentives for high performance and providing regular feedback to employees.

This can help to keep them motivated and engaged in their work, reducing the likelihood of employee disengagement and quitting.

signs of employee disengagement and quitting

A disengaged employee looks bored and uninterested, with no sense of initiative or motivation. Surround the group with a dull and lifeless atmosphere to emphasize the lack of energy and enthusiasm.


4.  Increased Job Searching Activities

If you notice an employee spending more time on job searching websites or engaging in networking activities, it could be a clear indication that they are considering leaving.

Actions such as updating their resume or attending industry events may suggest they are exploring new opportunities.

It’s important to approach the situation with a level head and not jump to conclusions. It’s possible that the employee is simply being proactive in their career development and not intending to leave.

However, if you notice a pattern of increased job searching activities, it’s worth having a conversation with the employee to understand their intentions.

Ask them about their career aspirations and if they feel satisfied with their current role and responsibilities. This can help you address any concerns they may have and potentially retain them as a valuable member of your team.

how to tell if an employee is going to quit image

a person holding a telescope, looking out the window of a corporate building. The person is observing a group of employees outside engaging in job search activities, such as handing out resumes and attending career fairs.


Signs an Employee is Thinking of Quitting:

  • Increased job searching activities
  • Disengagement or lack of interest in work
  • Decreased job satisfaction
  • Increased absenteeism or tardiness
  • Withdrawal from team discussions

Remember, employees are most likely to leave if they feel undervalued or underappreciated.
Take the time to listen to your team members and address any concerns they may have as soon as possible.

5.  Lack of Interest in Career Development

As a manager, it’s vital to keep track of employee engagement and motivation levels.

If you notice that employees are no longer interested in career development opportunities, it could be an indication that they are considering leaving.

Professional development initiatives, such as training programs and internal promotions, are essential to keep employees engaged and motivated.

They help staff acquire new skills and knowledge, which can help them advance their careers within the organization.

However, if you observe a decline in participation, it’s worth investigating further. Perhaps it’s time to review your professional development offerings or provide additional incentives to encourage participation.

Employee retention warning signs

A dull and uninterested worker sitting at a desk with stacks of untouched career development materials surrounding them. The worker’s body language shows disinterest and disengagement.


“If you want to retain employees, invest in their development.” -Mary Barra

This quote by Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, highlights the importance of employee development for retention.

It’s essential to recognize that employees, particularly high achievers, want opportunities for growth and advancement.

Without career development opportunities, employees can become stagnant and bored. They may start to feel undervalued and unappreciated, which can lead to decreased motivation and disengagement from their work.

Therefore, if you want to retain your best employees, ensure that they have access to professional development opportunities.

By investing in your employees’ growth and development, you’ll demonstrate that you value their contributions and care about their careers.

6.  Communication and Interaction Changes

As a professional team building facilitator, I know that communication is key in any successful workplace. That’s why it is important to pay attention to any changes in an employee’s communication and interaction patterns.

Withdrawal from team discussions or avoiding social interactions can be warning signs of employee resignation. These red flags of employee departure can indicate that they are mentally disengaged and considering quitting.

In order to address these concerns, I suggest fostering open communication channels. This can help you to understand their perspective and take proactive measures to retain valuable talent in your organization.

Remember, it’s important to address any signs of an employee quitting early on. By doing so, you can work to resolve any issues and increase employee retention.

 Frequently Asked Questions – Quitting signs of Top Employees

frequently asked questions

frequently asked questions

What are the top signs that indicate an employee may be considering quitting their job?

The top signs include decreased job satisfaction, increased absenteeism or tardiness, lack of initiative or motivation, increased job searching activities, lack of interest in career development, and communication and interaction changes.

What are the indicators of decreased job satisfaction?

Decreased job satisfaction can be seen through a lack of enthusiasm, decreased productivity, or disengagement with work.

How can increased absenteeism or tardiness indicate that an employee is considering leaving?

An increase in absenteeism or consistently arriving late to work may suggest that an employee has lost interest in their role or is exploring other job opportunities.

What are signs of a lack of initiative or motivation in an employee?

Signs of a lack of initiative or motivation can include decreased participation in team activities, lack of enthusiasm, or a decline in the quality of work.

How can increased job searching activities indicate that an employee is considering leaving?

If an employee is spending more time on job searching websites or engaging in networking activities, it may suggest that they are considering leaving and exploring new opportunities.

What does it mean if an employee shows a lack of interest in career development?

Employees who show a lack of interest in career development opportunities, such as training programs or internal promotions, may be signaling their intention to leave.

How can changes in communication and interaction patterns indicate that an employee is considering quitting?

Noticeable changes, such as withdrawing from team discussions or avoiding social interactions, can indicate that an employee is mentally disengaged and considering quitting.

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Lisa Lawrence

Written by Lisa Lawrence

Lisa Lawrence. is a certified facilitator and team building expert with over 12 years of experience in the field.  She has a passion for helping to build stronger teams and has worked with a wide range of fortune 500 businesses to improve communication and boost morale in the New York City Metro Area.

November 21, 2023


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