People leave jobs all the time. It's when a trickle turns into a flow that people tend to get concerned and wonder, “Why am I still here?”
If the seats around you are emptying at a rapid rate—and not because of a recent layoff or merger—it's essential to take some time to evaluate your situation and make an important decision: Should you leave if everyone else is?
Whether you should be looking for a new job or staying put based on high employee turnover depends on a host of factors. It's tough to lose colleagues you respect and enjoy working with, but their departure isn't necessarily a red flag. However, it's worth asking yourself a few questions when it happens.
Here's a handy guide to deciding whether or not you should consider jumping ship.
Yes if: Most of the People Who've Left Are in Your Department or at Your Level
Look around—is there a trend of people like you departing? If so, pay close attention. There could be a deal breaker that just hasn’t gotten to you yet. For example, the company has decided that project managers are going to absorb the duties of administrative assistants, and the first handful of project managers who tested out the new system decided to leave. This could be a huge negative change to your workload and responsibilities.
No if: A Number of Colleagues Have Left But They Work on Different Teams
No need to worry just yet if people are leaving elsewhere in the organization. Most likely this is due to people's tenure or team shifts unrelated to your own department. Try to evaluate the reasons for their departures and see if it's something that will actually affect you personally. If you can see an obvious reason for their departures (say, the sales and marketing departments are being combined) but it doesn’t apply to you, then stay put.
Yes if: Communication Has Been Terrible
No one on your level knows anything about why people are leaving, who's taking over, or if there are any company issues—for example, they've lost a major client—and there are mixed messages coming from management. Disorganization and dishonesty often signify bigger problems than just a few people leaving, so take note. If asking questions isn't getting you any answers, that may be a sign.
No if: There's Been Clear Communication About the Situation (and They've Outlined a Plan)
If you feel confident that your manager (or their manager, or someone) is resolving the problems that caused people to leave (they've gotten rid of a terrible boss, for example), you can relax and stick around a while longer—at least until you're sure whether actual change is in the works.
Yes if: You Can See the Writing on the Wall
Sometimes it's just coincidence that a number of people leave at the same time. But other times it's because there's been some kind of big change—to leadership, to company priorities, to the culture—that leaves many unhappy, and the smart people start taking off. If you feel similarly about these shifts and believe that they are no longer in line with your goals or values, it's OK to want to follow suit.[/en
[en]No if: It Really Is Just a Coincidence
If one person goes on maternity leave, another got a big pay increase somewhere else, and a third is moving to a new city, those aren't signs that the company is going down the tubes. It's worth staying put if everything else seems like it's business as usual.