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What Defines a High Risk Employee?

November 7 2016 - High risk is a concept applicable to both businesses and employees. Lenders approach high-risk businesses with caution, which is why it is hard for them to secure a merchant account unless they approach a specialist lender such as High Risk Pay. High risk employees also represent a risk to the business, but from a slightly different perspective.

The ideal employee is one who works hard and stays with the company for decades. Unfortunately, they are in a minority. The rest fall into three other categories:

  • Soft stays are happy to stick around, but if a great opportunity arises, they might take it.
  • At-risk people are not actively looking for a new job, but they expect to leave within a couple of years.
  • Leavers are actively looking and if the right opportunity comes along, you won't see them for dust.
Spotting High Risk Employees

When you interview a great candidate for a job, you hope that they will be a stayer. However, this may not necessarily be the case, so here are some signs an employee is a flight risk.


Employees who have been head-hunted for the job are quite likely to move on within a few years; usually to a more challenging position. These people are high value, but they know it, so unless you make their position extremely attractive, you won't hang on to them for long.

Stuck Employees

Most people are following some kind of career progression path, so if they feel blocked in some way, they won't want to stick around indefinitely. If your organization doesn't offer enough opportunities for progression, you will have a problem with staff retention.

Low Employee Engagement

Disengaged employees are high risk. They don't care about the job, so if something better comes along, they will be off like a shot. You need to watch out for disengaged employees, as they are less productive. They will also have an effect on workplace morale if you don't take steps to nip their attitude in the bud.

One Foot Out of the Door

High risk employees are already looking for a new job, so if you spot someone perusing recruitment websites or taking time off for interviews, it is sensible to find out why they are leaving. It could be any number of reasons, so address them before you start losing other employees.

Staff retention is an important issue for businesses. Many companies spend a lot of time and money training new employees. For a small business, this represents a significant investment, so ideally you want your staff to stay for a few years so you can recoup the cost of training.

Never be complacent about your employees. Just because they appear to be happy, it doesn't mean they are not looking for a new job. Half of all workers in the above categories are already actively looking for a new job. You may not be able to stop these people from leaving, but you can up your game and keep the rest on board.

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