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Life Health > Life Insurance

Is an Employee Ready to Jump Ship? Watch Out for These Signs

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Unexpectedly losing someone in your organization is one way to squash any momentum your firm has accrued during the usually slower summer months. Team members who have considered leaving in the past and have put their career prospects on hold to take vacations with their families and/or not make any big decisions around the upcoming holiday season will have more tempting offers come their way as firms start mapping out their human capital needs for 2020.

If you’re worried about losing staff — or even if you aren’t — here are 10 signs and or reasons that a valued team member may be looking elsewhere:

• Passed over for a promotion. This hurts feelings and bruises egos. If someone believes they have delivered strong performance and weren’t recognized for what they feel they have earned, then they will look for a firm that will provide increased responsibilities, compensation and professional growth — and they will not have to look far as this is new hiring season. This also is a reason to clearly state the expectations and requirements for promotions ahead of time so staff knows what skills are needed in the position.

• Leaving work earlier more frequently. Potentially to interview with other firms and/or utilize their health and PTO benefits before losing them.

• Acting like they have something to hide. Most effective financial planners are skilled at reading people as that is what you do with your clients every day — thus they know how to tailor advice to take action. Also watch for reductions in communication with existing team members e.g. not going out to lunch any longer, etc.

• Low engagement. Could be in many forms, but usually less willingness to step up and take things on and not suggesting innovative ideas.

• Reduced productivity. Easy to spot if a team member was previously a high performer. Quantity and overall quality of work product drops substantially.

• Negative attitude. Could be in the form of initiating and/or increasing friction with existing team members because they know they won’t be there much longer to have to deal with the fallout.

• Less interested in pleasing clients/manager. Missing deadlines, giving clients subpar service and reducing communication with manager. Or, increase of sarcastic comments about work, company, clients, and other team members.

• Hesitant to commit to long term timelines. Because most people generally do not want to cause excessive harm, above and beyond their leaving, to the organization, they feel guilty when projects with timelines that extend beyond their departure date are being discussed. In these cases, they will be vague, noncommittal, and try to avoid being put on the spot.

• Lost Enthusiasm for mission of firm. B.B. King said it best in his 1969 song, “The Thrill is Gone”. As people’s careers progress and lives change, their needs change, as do the firm’s as well. They find themselves no longer excited about what the company stands for, where the firm is going, etc. We frequently take calls from candidates all over the country who have become disenchanted with their firm’s high minimums due to their desire to want to serve previously un(der)served populations.

• Had a major life change. Substantial life changes often impedes logical thinking and cause people to make poor decisions. A firm we represent shared that one of their employees resigned to take a month off to tend to a new home purchase.

Finally, if none of these are clearly visible, but you sense something is not right, trust your gut and challenge yourself to take a closer look at what might be happening. Next article, I’ll address what actions to take if you have a team member about to jump ship.

Caleb Brown is a past chairman of FPA NextGen and partner in New Planner Recruiting LLC. He can be reached at


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