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Home  > Article

Is the Grass Greener?

By From the career experts at Robert Half
Robert Half International

Skilled accounting and finance professionals have myriad job opportunities available to them due to the current intense demand for their services. With this in mind, retaining your star performers should be a top priority. One way to reduce turnover is to be on the lookout for red flags that signify employee dissatisfaction. Identify them early enough, and you can take corrective measures that encourage key staff members to stay. Here are some common warning signs to watch for:

Rising absenteeism.  One of the most obvious indicators that someone is considering employment opportunities outside the firm is a change in his or her attendance pattern.  For example, if one of your normally ambitious employees suddenly begins leaving early, coming in late, taking longer lunches or calling in sick, it could mean the person is interviewing with other companies or, at the very least, unmotivated to come to work.

         A change in attitude.  Keep an eye out for employees who exhibit changes in personality.  That may include an enthusiastic staff member who becomes withdrawn or stops volunteering for new projects or a quiet employee who is more combative in meetings or frequently grumbles about the department's workload.  Changes such as these can indicate an individual is unhappy in his or her current role or frustrated about certain aspects of the company.

         Reduced productivity.  Is your payroll administrator suddenly struggling to meet deadlines?  Does your star tax accountant have to spend time re-doing projects because of mistakes?  A change in quality of work could indicate burnout or a lack of interest in projects that once sparked a fire.  Even if these employees are not looking for new jobs, they may need lighter workloads or more stimulating assignments.

         Less socialization.  Take note when people stop participating in departmental activities such as birthday celebrations or parties meant to mark important accomplishments.  Staff members who take a break from the team in this capacity may be looking for a permanent leave.

         Differences in attire.  It may seem trivial, but watch for changes in the way employees dress.  If those in the office typically wear business casual attire, the worker who shows up in a suit may have an interview scheduled for that day.  Dressing down also could spell trouble.  For example, if a coat and tie is the norm, and a high-performing employee begins to wear jeans to work, it could signal the person's lack of concern about his or her status within the organization.

      While no single warning sign means a member of your team is definitely looking for a new job, the more red flags that appear, the harder it is to believe that nothing is wrong.  Consider meeting with employees who exhibit the behaviors listed above and diplomatically note what you have observed.  Ask about the person's overall satisfaction and what you can do to help them get back on track.  You may not be able to resolve every issue, but the situations you are able to turn around will be well worth your effort in terms of reduced turnover and heightened productivity. 

Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half International Inc., the world's largest specialized financial recruiting service and a leading authority on workplace and management trends. The company has more than 350 offices throughout North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Learn more at

Copyright 2008 Robert Half International. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

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