1. Your employee is more distracted than usual
When an employee becomes distracted from their work more often than usual, this could be a sign that they're losing interest and motivation to work. Chances are if they're not invested in the work they're doing, they're going to start looking elsewhere for a new challenge in a new environment. If you notice that your employee is using their phone, taking calls and popping in and out of the office regularly, then this could be a sign that they're talking to a recruiter or hiring manager at another company.
A lot of recruitment has to take place during working hours when people are in the office, however, you can't completely rule out the fact that something could be happening in your employee's personal life. If you notice your employee has been distracted from their work for more than a few weeks, it could be valuable to check in with them privately and find out if they're okay. Of course, they might not want to disclose that they're looking for a new job, but keeping a good line of communication with your employees is vital! Who knows, you might be able to open a conversation that helps you make improvements in your own workplace & may even be able to encourage them to stay.
2. They're taking frequent days off
Another key sign that your employee might be looking for another job, is poor attendance. Like we've mentioned, most job applications need to take place during working hours, and the same goes for interviews. If your employee is booking days off at short notice, it's possible that they're making arrangements to attend interviews. Again, you can't jump to conclusions. If your employee is telling you they've got doctors appointments or dentist appointments, this could be the case. We'd only recommend pressing them on their low attendance if it starts to become a prolonged problem. If they're genuinely having personal issues that require time out of the office, you may be able to come to a more suitable, flexible arrangement.
3. Their appearance changes
If you notice that your employee is turning up to work in smart, "interview-appropriate attire" this could be a sign that (you guessed it) they've been to or are going to an interview. This is usually more noticeable if your employees usually turn up to work looking pretty casual. While there's no harm in passing on a compliment... "you look nice today", it's probably not worth your time questioning them on their smart appearance too much. This could be taken the wrong way, and you don't want to make your employee feel uncomfortable.
4. They have asked for more & been denied
Whether it's a pay rise, a promotion or a training course, if your employee has recently asked to progress within the company and been denied, there's a chance they'll be looking elsewhere. Can you blame them? As much as we like to think of workspaces and communities, everyone is out to better themselves individually at the end of the day. If someone is keen to progress professionally or financially and you're unable to accommodate them, they're well within their rights to look for opportunities in other places. This is something you should consider carefully when your employees broach these topics with you. If you're keen to keep them on board, try and respond to their requests positively, or at least lay out a plan or framework to show them you're happy to reconsider at a more appropriate time.
5. They're gossiping or arguing with other staff members
Another clear sign that someone is looking for a new job is their attitude towards other staff members. If they're gossiping or causing unnecessary arguments, this could be a reflection of how they feel about their job and the company as a whole. Sadly, when people decide that their current job is no longer for them because they're unhappy with the culture, the pay, or the opportunities, they can quickly spread their feelings to other staff members. It's not uncommon for people to encourage others to leave their jobs, just because the company isn't right for them.
Similarly, if an employee has had a disagreement with another member of staff that still appears to be unresolved, this could be a sign that they're getting ready to leave. Why put effort into making friends with colleagues that you probably won't be working with in a few months anyway? If you do notice your employees gossiping or being argumentative, it might be worth sitting them down and talking through their feelings. Perhaps there are some simple changes you could make eg. moving two staff members away from each other, encouraging a more positive work culture etc. that could make all the difference.