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For many managers and business leaders, the first clue they think they are given is when they are asked if they have a minute on a Friday afternoon to given notice. That couldn’t be the furthest things from the truth.

Here’s the simplest thing to keep an eye out for.

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This 1 came from an institutional customer of mine who asked for some advice about something. The advice is about recognizing the signals employees are sending about being "at risk." To me was an easy question before her was a bit different. I thought I would walk through stages of employment so that you could spot the evolution with your people.

Jimmy, there are a few stages beginning with the one where they joined and they are all sorts of gung ho and they are really into it and they are trying to prove that you made a great decision hiring them and that this is a great job. Then, they get into the rhythm of the office where they start to play to the level of everyone else. It is not an ideal set of circumstances. if you have average staff or mediocre because they start to adapt to them, rather than your existing staff adapt to the new hire.

It's like I heard said many times, environments tend to win. If you think about the language and offices, "Oh! He is a brown nose," what are they trying to communicate? He is trying to get on the boss's good side. As a result, he is not 1 of us. He is someone who is catering to the boss. Until that individual levels out on the same plane as everyone else, they are not seen favorably by their peers.

Then there is the phase where they have adjusted. That's because environments win and they have adapted to it. In doing so, there will be times where they are hitting your head against the wall because you are not communicating with them the same way as you used to. The result is that frustration starts to set in. That's what happens. That has been my experience and the experience of everyone I work with as a recruiter and now as a coach. Resignation starts to set in.

Then there is the phase where they just don't give a damn until they walk out the door.

If you see this is a few natural progressions, you need to look out for the "noticing the resignation" phase that they have leveled out to their existing staff, they have become 1 of them, and are not trying to rock the boat anymore. "Not rocking the boat" is the 1st signal.

Then they start bumping up against you in some way because they start parroting the staff about something, instead of thinking like you. Until they become so frustrated that they start to neglect stuff. Maybe they're going through the motions… minimally. However, at the end of the day, they are really putting on a good performance anymore. That's a real problem because the next step is that they start heading out the door.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.”

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching from me?  Email me at and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.


Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon. 

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