UK companies at risk of losing one in five staff due to 2013 New Year resolutions, says Robert Half

One in five HR directors fear losing top performers. Robert Half offers tips on how to spot an employee who is about to quit.

  • 79% of HR directors fear losing top performers in first half of 2013
  • Robert Half helps employers understand and recognise signs that an employee may quit – and how to respond

London, 3 January 2013 – New research* from leading recruitment specialist Robert Half UK, reveals that UK HR directors are very concerned about losing staff in 2013, admitting that they believe one in five (22%) of their current employees will look for a new job as the result of New Year's resolutions.  

In businesses across the UK, employees are the single most important commodity, and any loss in resourcing - particularly of a valued employee - can have serious consequences on growth and profitability.  In fact, HR directors surveyed are not only fearful of losing ‘general’ staff in the first half of 2013, but 79% have stated that they are very concerned about losing their top performers.  

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said:“Top performers are instrumental in helping organisations grow. However, it is all too common for companies to wait until they receive resignations in order to enhance their retention efforts, but by then it is often too late to keep those key staff.

“Losing one in every five employees can have devastating effects on company operations. The New Year has always been a popular time for employees to move jobs, largely the result of resolutions coupled with annual bonus payouts.  However, when businesses are able to maintain continuity among their teams, they are in a better position to navigate through the uncertain economic landscape and achieve success.”    

Robert Half’s top four signs that an employee may quit and how employers should respond:

1. A noticeable change in attitude: A formerly enthusiastic individual may become withdrawn and indifferent while performing his or her role.

2. Longer lunch breaks and frequent absences: This may be a sign that the employee is using the time for job interviews. It also can mean the individual is bored with his or her work.

3. More professional attire: Does the person come to work in business dress even though your company has a casual/semi-casual dress policy?

4. A drop in productivity: Perhaps an employee who used to take projects home or work overtime no longer does. Also, forgetfulness about deadlines, meetings and appointments could indicate a worker who is gradually disconnecting from a job.

How to respond: What should you do if you see these red flags? It’s definitely not the time to take a “wait-and-see” approach. Rather, it’s best to ask the employee if he or she is planning to leave. If you discover the employee is preparing to quit, the following are some suggestion for handling the situation:

Emphasise the employee’s value and opportunities:  If you risk losing a key employee, consider offering an incentive to stay. Stress the person’s value to the organisation and discuss future career opportunities with the company. However, don’t promise more than you can deliver.

Don’t pin your hopes on a counteroffer: Making a counteroffer is still risky business for both you and the employee. Even if the individual accepts your offer, the “trust exchange” between you has been compromised. From that point on, you may doubt his or her loyalty.

Leave the door open: If a valued employee decides to leave, tell the person to feel free to contact you if things don’t work out with the new position. Express that you would be happy to have him or her join your team again.

Phil Sheridan, continues: “Most employees want their jobs not to be merely a source of income but also a means of attaining self-esteem, pride and professional development.

“Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to retain your best and brightest. However, by making sure employees are happy through regular communication, company updates and encouragement, you can ensure that your company isn’t hit with that mass exodus.”

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

About the Survey

*The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 HR directors across the UK. The survey was conducted in December 2012.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and