Four out of ten employees in the United Kingdom would leave their current job today if they reasonably could, according to a new study. While things may be slightly different in Jolly Old England than they are in the United States, it would not be shocking at all to find out that a similar percentage of US employees would love to jump ship.
How can you tell if your employees are in that group? While there will always be surprises from time to time, if you're paying attention, you can figure out who is unhappy and work to fix it,= before you incur another instance of expensive turnover.
You're underpaying. It's easy to assume that if the salary you offered when the person was hired is good enough then, it's good enough now. Or, even more realistic, if you've given a nice cost of living raise each year, you must be paying market rate. That may be true for many of your positions, but not for all. You really need to be aware of what the market is offering for people with the skills your employees have.
You're a jerk. No one likes to think of him/herself as a jerk. Jerks are other people. But someone has to be one, and it might be you. Do you nitpick? Scream? Talk down to people? Are you always right? Do you steal credit? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, you're a jerk. If you've answered no to all of them, pat yourself on the back and then ask your best friend or spouse and see if they give you the same response. Introspection is always good for a boss.
This is your dream, but their nightmare. Your business, your baby. And like any new parent, you're willing to get up at 3:00 a.m. and clean up really disgusting things. But this isn't your employees' dream. It's their job. You may even hear them refer to it as their "day job." They have (or want to have) a life outside the office. If you want your employees to share your dream, give them a piece of the company instead of just a paycheck.
They are unusually active on LinkedIn. Don't make it a huge habit to monitor your employees' LinkedIn profiles, but do check in from time to time. If they've added 100 new contacts in the last month, and have revamped their profile 3 times, it's a pretty good indication that they've jumped into the job hunt scene. Don't fire someone for this (because that would make you a jerk, and it's just wrong), but do try to find out what is going on. You may be able to salvage things before your employee finds a new job.
Their time-off patterns change. If Jane always takes a week off in July, and every Monday in December to do her Christmas shopping, but suddenly she's taking a random Tuesday off in April and another one a week later, it may be a sign of job hunting. Again, this as an opportunity to save the relationship, not to shove her out the door.