When an employee gives notice, it can feel a lot like a breakup. The employee’s reasons for leaving may have nothing to do with you as a supervisor, but it’s difficult not to take his decision at least a little personally.
But when a facilities leader decides to quit, it stings even more. Since the role is highly specialized and integral to the success of a multi-location enterprise, if the position becomes vacant unexpectedly, the entire organization will suffer.
To help avoid being in a situation where you’re scrambling to replace a critical employee, keep an eye out for these five warning signs your facilities leader is about to quit.
1. They delegate the majority of their tasks.
Considering their workload, if your facilities leader didn’t assign some of his more minor duties to other members of the facilities management (FM) team, he would burn out in a matter of months. But if the facilities leader is suddenly handing over most of his to-do list to other team members, it could be a sign he is preparing to exit.
2. They seem less concerned about the future of the company.
One of the most important responsibilities of a facilities leader is planning for the future—both in the short-term and long-term. If your facilities leader has begun focusing solely on the former and neglecting the latter, he may have decided it’s not worth his effort to consider where the company will be in a few months since he doesn’t anticipate being around.
3. They aren’t offering suggestions for improvements.
Maybe your facilities leader is still investing time and effort into future projects, but he is no longer actively offering innovative ideas or ways to improve operations. Facilities leaders should always be on the cutting edge of FM, including best practices, new workplace technology and the latest trends. But if he now seems content with keeping the existing status quo, it may mean he has lost the motivation to move the organization forward.
4. Their availability and communications decrease.
Facilities leaders are the go-between for many departments across an organization, which means they need to be especially communicative as well as flexible with their schedule. And since high-priority tasks with tight turnarounds are usually the norm for facilities leaders, they must be ready to provide resolutions at a moment’s notice.
If your facilities leader exhibits any of the following, it could be an indicator they have already checked out:
- Letting several days pass before responding to emails
- Consistently allowing his calls go to voicemail
- Not making time for meetings, either standing or impromptu
- Bailing on obligations at the last minute
5. Their colleagues have expressed concerns.
No one spends more time with a facilities leader than his co-workers. If they approach you with worries about changes in the facilities leader’s attitude or productivity levels, you need to listen. It’s unlikely a team member would reach out to you if these changes had not been going on for some time.
The FM team knows the facilities leader best—if they notice something’s off, they’re probably right, and you should speak with the facilities leader as soon as possible. Even if the change in behavior is related to something else and the facilities leader is not planning on moving to another company, he will appreciate you took the time to check in on him. And building a supportive workplace culture can help employee retention.
Replacing employees costs thousands of dollars. But if you watch for the above warning signs and take action quickly, you have the opportunity to try to persuade your facilities leader to stay, rather than incurring the cost of finding someone new to fill the position.
The worst-case scenario? Your facilities leader is quitting, and no matter how generous your counteroffer, his mind is made up. The silver lining is if you approach him proactively and confirm he’s planning on leaving, you can start looking for his replacement sooner rather than later. The facilities leader can then help train the new person. While this obviously isn’t ideal, it’s certainly better than being left in the lurch because you didn’t communicate with work workforce.
Turnover is expensive! But have you considered some of the other ways your organization might be losing money? Download our free SlideShare, Top 11 Ways Enterprise Companies Leak Money, to see some of the frequent ways businesses damage their profitability.