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Exit Signs

Two-weeks notice shouldn't be your first hint that employees are looking elsewhere.

The warnings were there, but were you too busy to notice them? Losing a good employee hurts any time, but with today's minuscule unemployment rate, it can be a disaster. Early detection can make the difference. If you're aware an employee is looking for another job, find out why and remedy the situation.

"You don't need to do heavy-duty sleuthing. Just look for the signs, and then check with that employee and ask how things are going," explains Lynn Taylor of Menlo Park, California-based OfficeTeam, a large administrative staffing firm. "Start subtly--no one likes to be caught--and then approach the person with genuine concern, which will open the dialogue."

Some signs are obvious: more personal phone calls, closed office doors and increased sick days. But here's another signal that may tell you an employee has already mentally checked out: The often vocal employee suddenly becomes passive and mute at staff meetings. Conversely, a normally quiet employee who turns into a squeaky wheel may feel he or she has nothing to lose. And be wary of any employee who suddenly seems happy all day; they may have their next job lined up.


Ellen Paris is a Washington, DC, writer and former Forbes magazine staff writer.

Contact SourceOfficeTeam, 2884 Sand Hill Rd., #200, Menlo Park, CA 94025, (650) 234-6000

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Exit Signs.

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