5 Signs That Your Top Performers Are Leaving and What You Can Do To Keep Them
How many of your top performers have resigned, leaving you, their boss, perplexed as to why or what went wrong? Before they ask for what they want or tell you what's wrong, people will give up. That is why understanding what to look for is so important.
Red flag behaviors
1. Productivity and accountability drop:
They skip deadlines, don't meet needle movers, don't work usual hours, and even when they are in the office, they aren't "all there." They've stopped making long-term commitments and aren't coming up with innovative ideas. They don't appear to care or want to improve, grow, stretch, or adjust their course. Your once-prominent producer has ceased to produce.
2. Communication stops:
They don't participate fully in meetings, don't answer promptly to emails/phone calls, and often don't respond at all. They isolate you. They are merely doing the bare minimum in terms of maintaining open and constructive lines of contact. They become defensive when asked if everything is fine.
3. Negative attitude and behavior:
They complain about their jobs; they are dissatisfied; have nothing positive to say, aren't optimistic, outcome-oriented, or proactive; they blame others and may even engage in bullying behavior.
4. Change in appearance:
Drastic changes in appearance, paired with changes in conduct may indicate that they are unconcerned about how they are regarded at work or that they do not believe they are "seen" at work, in which case, how they dress is irrelevant.
5. Team members are concerned:
When members of your team come to you and express their worries, you should take them seriously. Your top performer collaborates closely with others in the team, and they will be the first to notice little changes. It's critical to keep these worries from becoming office gossip but don't ignore them without first checking in with the top producer.
Simply put, all of these red flag behaviors indicate that your formerly top performer has become disengaged, and rather than contributing positively to the organization, their actions are causing harm.
You can take action once you've identified the behaviors. It's easier to respond to a person's intent rather than their problem. It also aids in the useful grooving of our brains.
Disengagement is the foundation:
All of these variables add up to disengagement, which is the most telling sign that someone is about to abandon a ship. When should you throw them a lifeline, and when should you let them go? When my customers have a high-performing employee who is getting disengaged and showing symptoms of quitting, they find it beneficial to check in with them before they leave.
Let's work together to create an atmosphere in which you, as the leader, receive the results you want and your top performers feel empowered, effective, enrolled, and engaged.
The 7-Step Feedback Frame is given below (with some tweaks for the disengaged employee). It assists everyone in reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. This is a method you can use with your underperforming high performer. It's critical to start with compassion, listening, and determining whether or not the person wants to stay before collaborating on a strategy.
1. Set the stage: Explain why you're meeting and what you're hoping to achieve (to form a collaborative turnaround plan). This is where you should investigate whether something external is contributing to their disengagement.
2. State observable data/ behavior: This is where you outline the precise behaviors that need to change and examples so that the employee can "walk into" previous circumstances. This is also where you get more information about external elements from them.
3. Describe impact: The harm that these behaviors do to others, the company, and the employee. Find out what kind of harm the employee thinks is happening to them.
4. Check problem acknowledgement: Do you agree that there is a problem? Do you agree that this problem should end now? This is the most important step. If you can't reach an agreement here, go back to step 1. Once you agree, you will find that step 5-7 is more enjoyable as the representative is now busy trying to find a solution.
5. Co-create a plan: Set aside a time frame (30-90 days) to meet with them once a week for 15-30 minutes to track their progress in releasing problematic behaviors and addressing the external issues. Make the strategy clear, what you need to see and when you'll know you've achieved your goal. If the change does not occur, clearly state what the consequences will be (loss of jobs, etc.). Also note that if there are any external factors that you need to correct (your behavior, someone else's, a stupid policy/decision that puts the employee off, etc.), you may have some action points here as well.
6. Check understanding: Is everything in order? Is there anything else we should talk about? Reiterate your goal for a positive outcome so that the repercussions become insignificant.
7. Build small agreements: Start the strategy and make a firm commitment to putting an end to the conflict once and for all. Make sure to keep track of it regularly and that everyone involved notices a shift in behavior.
It's a two-way street when it comes to success. Being aware of the signals that your top performers are dissatisfied with their work might help you deal with the problem quickly and efficiently. Act quickly if you observe a high-performing employee is showing indications of burnout, avoiding work, or disengaging.