Employees are often a business’s biggest asset - high staff turnover is a big and costly challenge in business! BUT it is possible to identify if empl
Employees are often a business’s biggest asset – high staff turnover is a big and costly challenge in business! BUT it is possible to identify if employees are planning to leave through the art of communication. In particular, the sheer power of nonverbal communication can help to unveil a discontented employee.
We caught up with presentation coach and nonverbal communication expert Simon de Cintra, author of Unlock Your Business Voice: How to Sound As Good As You Think. Simon has over 25 years experience in business and provides coaching and mentoring for people who are looking to gain confidence with their public speaking skills or wanting to learn how to lead and influence others. In 2006 Simon founded MyFirstTrainers® and has delivered workshops at leading business schools and internationally for major blue chip companies including. Simon specialises in personal impact, influencing and persuading stakeholders and public speaking skills for introverts working in complex and highly technical environments.
We asked him to give you his five top tips on how to spot the warning signs that an employee may be looking to leave.
Sometimes the most damaging business conversations are those which do not take place. If an employee is reserved, not participating in discussions and generally not speaking up, you might think they are just happy with the status quo and allowing others with concerns to voice their opinions. However, this could be a sign that they are unhappy but just haven’t the confidence to really use their ‘business voice’ to express their opinions. They may think their views are not worth listening to. These type of employees will not speak up and you will probably find their resignation comes as a complete shock, because they will not have given you any verbal signs that a departure was on the cards.
- Avoiding Eye Contact
If every time you are speaking to an employee they are constantly looking away or avoiding direct eye contact, this might be a sign that things are not all well at work. Sometimes people are just shy and find direct contact intimidating, so it is important to have a good understanding of a person’s character before jumping to any conclusions. Providing staff with the opportunity to voice concerns or opinions in an environment that does not make them feel nervous or unconfident could reveal simple issues which can easily be resolved and improve their happiness in their role, preventing them from moving on prematurely.
- Changes in Behaviour
Some employees are naturally more outspoken than others, but if you notice a sudden change in behaviour, particularly becoming more argumentative during meetings or refusing to follow standard processes, this may be a sign that the employee is looking to leave. People often need to justify their decisions and so creating tension in their existing role could be their way of creating the right conditions to move on guilt-free, with the justification that ‘things are starting to turn sour in this job so it is time to move on.’ Sometimes these people are just left to leave the business, but if they are an employee that you really want to keep then it is well worth taking the time to speak to them and find out what is causing their change in behaviour. It may be that it is not related to work at all, but in fact they are struggling to balance work and personal issues. You could be the person that offers them a lifeline, simply by having the conversation.
- Non-Verbal Signals
Your voice is not your only means of communication and your non-verbal signs are just as important in conveying how you really feel, if not more so. It is also worth noting that you cannot switch these non-verbal signs off no matter how hard you try! Your mind, breath, voice and body work as an integrated system and if you know what you are looking for, it’s near on impossible to ‘fake’ all of these signs at the same time! When an employee is unhappy, they will almost certainly be giving off non-verbal signals which show this to be the case. A smile and a ‘No, I’m fine’ might reassure you in the moment that all is well, but delving a little deeper is likely to uncover an employee who might not be as happy as they are making out.
- Short Term View
Employees who are looking to leave may have a reluctance to commit to any long term plans or objectives. They may express very clear views and actions on day-to-day tasks, but suddenly become vague and disengaged when working on more longer-term tasks or discussions. However, bear in mind that this could also simply indicate that they do not feel their ‘business voice’ has merit or weighting in these more complex discussions. This could simply be because they do not fully understand the company’s direction or vision, or do not feel they have the authority to pass comment. Either way, it is important not to ignore this and find the most suitable way to discuss the issue and find out what is causing the reluctance to fully engage in the discussions.
Read more tips from Simon in his new book Unlock Your Business Voice – How to Sound As Good As You Think (£12.99, Rethink Press). On-sale January 2018 from Amazon at £12.99. To keep updated visit http://www.myfirsttrainers.com/author/simon/