4 Signs Someone Has Outgrown Their Job

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Staying one step ahead of your staff includes challenging them to stick around.

Everyone has a time in their life when they’re questioning whether or not they need a career change. From the executive assistant to the CEO, the majority of people who come through a company’s door will eventually end up going right back out — and some much sooner than later. 

Resignations are an important opportunity for a leader to reflect on what they’re doing wrong and how the company could do better. That’s why I’m such a big proponent of exit interviews — they give you incredible insight into what’s really happening in the company. As someone in recruitment, I’ve made it my career to learn why talent stays and what makes them leave. While there are a plethora of reasons, there is typically one that always comes up the most– they’re not growing.

Boredom is the biggest retention killer. Companies that aren’t challenging their employees to take on more responsibility, leadership, and skill sets, are going to be the receiving end of resignation letters. It’s really that simple. 

Things can always change, but it’s never too late (or too early) for leaders to start planning for their staff’s futures. If you want to cultivate a strong culture with high-performing employees, then you must always stay one step ahead of them. The best leaders build the ladders for their talent to climb. 

Unfortunately, companies lose incredible talent because they simply can’t recognize that their employees have outgrown their roles. Here are four tips for taking notice — before it’s too late. 

1. They’re dragging.

Having no room to grow within a company can feel stifling to the professional goals that an employee may have set out for themselves and their career. If the work that your employee is in becomes static or repetitive, then they can only spend so long in that role before being unmotivated or restless. These are two feelings that won’t translate well.

That means missing deadlines, subpar work, and little concern about either. If an employee has expressed to you their interest in wanting to know ways that they can move up within your company, then it is a good sign that they enjoy their environment and hope to stick around. If they become aware of the possibility of there being no further opportunities, then they may just bid their time working for you until they can find somewhere else that does.

2. They no longer take initiative. 

If the employee who used to volunteer suggestions, take risks, or initiate change in the office has stepped away from doing so, consider this the early signs of a red flag. It could be caused due to personal reasons, a change of heart with their position, or an overall lack of motivation, but can symbolize a deeper issue such as their priorities shifting elsewhere than your company–and their job. 

This may also lead to your employee having an irregular schedule, either showing up late or not meeting certain deadlines and can cause an even more withdrawn or quieter appearance than usual. Observing this behaviour and stimulating ways to pique their interest could benefit the situation earlier on, but it could just as well strain or aggravate it further if noticed too late.  

3. Their demeanor doesn’t match their performance. 

Just because someone is great at their job doesn’t mean they love what they do. Leaders make the mistake of assuming that good performance means their employees are happy in their roles. While they’re not wrong to do so, they should always dig deeper to find out where each person’s passion truly lies.

If you’ve spoken to the employee about what their career goals are, then you can usually get a good idea as to how your company lines up with their interests and passions. Does their current position seem aligned with this? 

If it doesn’t, then it’s likely that this may be a temporary pit stop on their lineup of future jobs.

4. They’re mingling with new departments.​

We all want our staff to get along. So when you see an employee from marketing asking someone from human resources out for coffee, it may be a clue that they’re interested in what else the company has to offer.

This is an extremely positive outcome. For one, they’re looking to grow within the company. And secondly, they’re connecting with people in other departments, building greater connections within the organization. As a leader, you need to recognize these efforts and do something about it.

A simple one-on-one conversation should be all you need to get that person talking. Are they interested in a lateral move? What skills will they need to get there? These are all jumping-off points to get him or her excited about growing within your company.

 

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