Timothy Gardner and Peter Hom have conducted some useful research about the signs that might emerge before an employee quits his or her job. They describe these cues as "pre-quitting behaviors." These include things such as acting less like a team player than usual, or becoming less enthusiastic about the organization's mission. They also might become less committed to long-term schedules and deadlines, and they may become less interested in working with customers. In this piece for Harvard Business Review, Gardner and Hom explain one of the most interesting aspects of their research:
The most interesting take-away from this second phase of our research were the behaviors that did not survive our screening process. Note that the 13 key behaviors do not include “wearing dressier clothes to work,” “leaving a resume on the printer,” or “missing work for doctors’ appointments more frequently than usual.” These and many similar behaviors, which have entered into managers’ folklore of key signs of impending departure, were rarely observed or did not statistically hang together with the core behaviors representing a general predilection to quit. Such behaviors may predict future turnover, but not as consistently as the 13 core pre-quitting behaviors across a wide range of jobs, industries, and geographies.