5 Warning Signs Your Top Talent Is About To Leave
- February 10, 2023
Finding the ideal talent for your legal team is the first stage of building a successful business. Once you’ve attracted top-performing candidates to your workforce, you also need to ensure you’re taking steps to keep them around.
And with hiring activity still healthy across the legal landscape, employees have many opportunities to switch firms should they find themselves unsatisfied with their current employment. That means learning how to retain your top talent is more important than ever.
Legal professionals can choose to leave a firm for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they feel they’re not getting enough satisfaction from their role, or they lose interest in the firm’s vision for the future.
Other times, employees may feel they don’t thrive in their current position due to issues with colleagues or managers.
While the cost of replacing a lost employee can be significant, it’s worth remembering that anywhere up to 75% of turnover can be avoided.
That is why it is critical to recognise the signs that your employee might be looking elsewhere.
In this post, we are going to share several signs to be aware of.
1. They’re Avoiding Long-Term Projects and Growth
When an employee decides they no longer want to work with a firm, they often begin to reduce their involvement in long-term projects and strategies for development or growth. They stop envisioning a “future” with the business, which means they generally spend more of their time on short-term tasks and simply “checking boxes” on their to-do list.
When an employee who previously volunteered for various challenging projects no longer raises their hand in meetings or delegates long-term work to other employees. In that case, this could signify they’re not planning on being around for long.
Pay close attention to whether your staff members still invest in their future with the company by agreeing to learning and development opportunities or discussing goals during one-on-one meetings. If your employees no longer see a future with you, change their perspective by offering them insights into progression opportunities, they might miss out on if they leave.
2. They Show Visible Signs of Stress
The World Health Organisation says “burnout” is a significant occupational phenomenon that has increased drastically in recent years. Burned-out and overwhelmed employees disengage from the workplace, show clear signs of exhaustion, and often look for alternative work opportunities. With this in mind, tracking your employee’s mental and physical health is important.
Pay attention to signs of exhaustion, like the heavy reliance on caffeine, yawning, or even a slower-than-usual pace in your team member’s workflow.
The attitude of your employee might begin to change too. They may appear to be overwhelmingly negative towards other colleagues or attempt to isolate themselves from their peers, taking part in meetings less than usual. In some cases, they could even become more argumentative or aggressive. If you notice signs of burnout, speak to your staff member about how you can help them manage their workload.
3. They’re Not as Creative or Intuitive as Usual
When employees decide to leave a business, they stop actively contributing to its growth. You may notice some of your top performers who used to share ideas for development in previous meetings are now quieter when you’re asking for suggestions or advice.
Rather than trying to solve problems with out-of-the-box ideas and collaboration, your team members may simply pass difficult tasks onto other employees. They could stop taking the initiative with their work and may focus on doing just the “bare minimum” to get by.
An employee who’s occasionally quiet during business meetings isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. However, if your team member seems to have lost their passion for helping the firm grow, they may no longer feel inspired by your firm’s mission or values.
A good way to address this issue is to give your team members regular feedback and let them know how much you value their input. Employees are more likely to contribute when they feel recognised and rewarded for their hard work.
4. They Focus More on External Networking
Networking is important in building a thriving career as a legal professional. It’s not unusual for dedicated employees to visit industry events and connect with other experts on social media. However, there may be a problem if your team members focus more on external networking than on building internal relationships.
If you notice your team members are disconnecting from their internal peers, failing to attend meetings, or spending less time chatting with colleagues, check out their external networking efforts. If they’re heavily invested in adding new connections on LinkedIn and improving their personal brand, this could be a sign they’re looking for a way to branch into new opportunities.
There are a few ways managers and supervisors can tackle this issue. Preventing staff from building external connections isn’t an option, but you can encourage your team to bond with their colleagues through team-building exercises and more consistent internal communication.
5. Their Performance Begins to Suffer
For a legal employee to thrive in their role, they need to do a lot more than just show up and follow the instructions given by a manager. The best staff members are constantly pushing themselves to be their best. However, if your employee is disengaged and disinterested in their work, you may begin to notice performance issues.
You might be able to notice more errors in their work, which they never used to make before. Or perhaps your customers are providing negative feedback concerning a specific employee’s behaviour. Other colleagues may even complain that one team member is no longer pulling their weight around the office.
If your staff member is no longer reaching their targets or making the right amount of effort, the first step shouldn’t always be to engage in disciplinary action. Speak to your team member and discover what’s happening behind the scenes.
Don’t Lose Your Top Performers
In today’s changing legal landscape, issues like disengagement, burnout, and even “quiet quitting” are becoming increasingly common. Fortunately, if you can recognise these signs ahead of time, there are still things you can do to re-ignite your staff’s passion for your firm and prevent them from seeking other employment options.
Pay attention to your top performers, and make sure you’re not actively pushing them away.
About Clayton Legal
Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.
If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.