Is Your Employee a Flight Risk?

Employee retention should be among the top priorities of Human Resources as it keeps the business working at full capacity and saves time and money recruiting equally competent replacements. It is critical to be proactive in identifying potential flight risks especially if they are essential and are key pieces to the company’s success.

Whether you manage a small team or a large scale workforce, running checks to predict who may be looking to leave the company can be a great way to improve the office, be an opportunity to reassess talent as well as improving on retention strategies in the long run.

 What is a Flight Risk?

No matter how good a company deems itself, there will always be employees with one foot out the door. A flight risk refers to employees ready to leave their job for better opportunities elsewhere. This could be due to salary, career advancement opportunities, adversarial relationships in the workplace and a plethora of other factors which encourages the employee to seek greener pastures.

Identifying high-risk employees begins with understanding their motivations for leaving. Whether it’s due to monetary reasons, workplace atmosphere or even problems outside of work, determining the reasons can go a long way to improving employee satisfaction which benefits the company.

There are a few telling signs that can identify who in the workplace could be a potential flight risk.

Disengaged Employees

These employees are not difficult to spot. They may call in sick often, come in late and leave work early, and generally don’t care whether the job they do is adequate or not. Reasons for this behavior may range from personal problems, to feeling unfulfilled doing what is assigned to them or even straight up boredom with the job. These employees are a flight-risk.

Employees that aren’t rewarded

These employees have spent a substantial amount of time in the company and are bypassed when it comes to promotions and proper monetary compensation for their achievements. Though there are people who are content with their job, most are disheartened if they see that they aren’t getting what they deserve. These employees are a flight-risk.

Employees with poor performance assessments

Employees who are regularly reprimanded for poor work ethics and perform at a subpar level with little to no improvement could indicate flight risks or possibly dismissal from the company. Investigating the cause and determining why a employee under-performs is essential before taking action. These employees are a flight-risk.

Employees with no upward mobility

Promotion is a key motivator to improve employee performance. If an employee feels that there is no concrete career progression in the company, such employees would feel stuck in their careers and would eventually seek opportunities elsewhere. This is frequently seen in traditional companies’ organizational structures and can be a hindrance to employees unlocking their full potential.

Managerial Problems

These employees are confrontational and don’t respect their managers as much as they should and usually leave the company not because of dissatisfaction with the business itself. Instead, they leave because of their negative disposition towards the management style and see that the workplace isn’t a good fit for them anymore.

High Fliers

Such employees are highly valued by the organization and by the employees themselves. They are usually key pieces to the business as top-performers that go above and beyond what is asked from them. Some main reasons they leave the company involve feeling left out from the decision-making process and assess their worth to be higher than usual. These employees also keep an eye on the job market looking for better opportunities with the versatility to live up to their potential.


Whatever the reason an employee may have for wanting to leave, it is important for Human Resources and supervisors to determine if an employee is worth retaining and to what extent the company is willing to go and consider if that certain employee is worth the effort. Decision making is not something that should be rushed as ample time should be given for the consideration of all factors.

Taking occasional surveys on employee satisfaction and suggestions for the workplace can also be helpful when it comes to managing flight risks as unfiltered feedback can go a long way when it comes to touching upon the organizational structure and future engagements with employees as giving them an outlet to voice their opinions enables them to give their insights employers wouldn’t normally hear. It also shows employees that the company is open to listening to their problems in the workplace and doesn’t shut down an important line of communication.

Keep in mind that losing employees is never a desirable outcome no matter what the reason but can’t be completely avoided. Consider investing and utilizing a Human Resource Information System or Human Capital Management System. Having an effective system will allow you to easily implement employee retention strategies that will mitigate or minimize flight risks from happening.