How to Re-Engage Employees Who Are Ready to Leave

Do you currently have an employee (or employees) who has one foot out the door? There are endless reasons for voluntary turnover, and data from this year’s NorthCoast 99 Top Performer Survey specifically identifies four of the most commonly cited sources of disengagement.

Employees are likely to chase after new advancement opportunities and more competitive compensation, while fleeing from a lack of flexibility and a lack of organizational support.

Once employees become disengaged, it can be a struggle to change their minds in a way that makes them want to stay.

Consider the following 4 ideas to re-engage those employees who could be on their way out.

1. Avoid being blindsided by keeping lines of communication open.

If regular employee-manager conversations don’t occur, you might find yourself quite surprised when you hear a top performer express intentions of leaving the company. Listen to all concerns intently and take them seriously. Even better, consider preventive measures such as conducting regular “stay” interviews and/or employee-engagement pulse surveys. Keeping your employees engaged requires continuous communication.

By maintaining an awareness of how your people are doing and how they feel about their work and roles in the organization, there will be more time and opportunity to address the concerns of your talent base.

As soon you obtain indicators of what could be pushing your top performers out, take action. It could be easier to remedy organizational issues as they come up, rather than continuously cycling through the talent attraction & hiring process as a result of turnover.

2. Get them “un-stuck.”

Give disengaged employees somewhere to go within the company, so that they feel less inclined to take their talent and knowledge elsewhere. Advancement opportunities allow top performers to feel continuously challenged and in charge of their learning, which not only serves to fulfill their needs for growth, but also benefits an organization’s competitive advantage (Deloitte).

Take note of the knowledge, skills, and unique attributes your organizational talent pool consists of, and figure out how you can better utilize your employees’ capabilities.

When they feel ready to move on to an external opportunity, offer to move these individuals into a new set of responsibilities in which they can flourish. And when you add new work to their plate, make sure their compensation is adjusted accordingly.  Having a talent-management system in place can facilitate this process. (Ultimate Software is an ERC Preferred Partner offering succession planning and talent development services.)

3. Recognize and reward good work…but don’t just rely on money to do the motivating.

A number of employees could be on their way out because they feel unappreciated for their efforts, and are no longer motivated to work for an organization that doesn’t recognize their contributions.

While no employee is likely to turn down a bonus for a job-well-done, money alone is not an effective long-term motivator (Harvard Business Review).

Showing appreciation can take on many forms, such as giving public recognition during staff meetings or through company email, awarding extra paid time off, or giving employees the chance to work on challenging projects that provide more work autonomy.

4. Let them have a life outside of the office.

If organizational policy is inflexible and forces individuals to choose between work and family/personal time, employees will likely recognize that they have options that will better suit their needs (that don’t include their current employer).

Granting employees more robust benefits such as flexible work schedules, generous parental leave, telecommuting opportunities, and unlimited bereavement leave, is a way to communicate to employees that you recognize they are holistic humans and not productivity machines.

Don’t lose your best people to the competition by hanging on to traditional workplace practices that hold them back from living an enjoyable life.

In the end, if you feel unwilling to put in the effort required to re-engage departing employees, consider whether you can truly afford to lose this talent…and adjust accordingly.

Retain and Engage Your Employees