Employee turnover is natural and some voluntary turnover should be expected now that the economy is beginning to move towards a more comfortable place. Some turnover can even be beneficial as employees that do not fit into the company culture or are not putting forth their best efforts weed themselves out.

However, accurately anticipating this turnover by watching for warning signs is essential to avoid staffing issues and keep your business running smoothly. Spotting warning signs may also help you to notice and address issues that will help you keep your best employees from leaving.

1. Change in Work Habits

When employees that have always been punctual begin to miss deadlines or turn in sloppy work, it may be a sign that they are starting to mentally check out. Every employee has a bad day now and again, so the issue should be addressed with sensitivity so that you can effectively gauge how the employee is feeling. Apathy about errors or missed deadlines should be noted.

2. Disengagement from Other Employees

One of the hardest parts about leaving a company is leaving the friends and acquaintances that you have worked with for so long, breaking the routines. Since this is a difficult process, employees will generally start to pull away, keeping to themselves more. If you notice that an employee that is usually talkative and friendly is not engaging with others as usual, this may be a red flag.

3. Leaving Right on Time or Early

Employees that are in a hurry to leave may be heading to job interviews or may just be very discontent with work. It is easy to casually check into this behavior to see if you should be worried by chatting up employees about hobbies and interests to see if they have begun doing something regularly after work that may explain the eagerness to leave. If employees seem uncomfortable with the conversation or do not give any solid reason for their eagerness to leave, they shouldn’t be pressed but the warning sign should be noted.

4. Major Life Changes

Life changes like marriage, divorce, the birth or a child, or the death of a family member may cause employees to rethink priorities. If employees are discontent with work or do not feel like their job is going anywhere, these events may motivate employees to begin looking into other work options. Speaking with your employee about these events, expressing condolences or congratulations, can show your employee that you care and may help you to gauge whether they may be considering leaving.

5. Change in Attitude or Increased Complaining

Some employees complain no matter what, it is part of their DNA. However, if an employee that does not usually complain starts to seem disgruntled or say negative things about the job, your hackles should go up. On the flip side, if employees that generally seem stressed begin to complain less or seem more relaxed, it may be a sign that they have given up or have found something different.

While none of these five signs should be taken as a definitive indication that an employee is going to leave, several signs together may signify that an employee is discontent and may begin to look elsewhere. The best way to identify these signs is to speak to employees regularly, just casually asking about how they are feeling in regards to work and general life. Noticing early signs such as these may give you an opportunity to make changes so that you keep your best employees.