How to identify and retain a flight risk employee: A complete guide for leaders in 2024

18 min read
How to identify and retain a flight risk employee: A complete guide for leaders in 2024
How to identify and retain a flight risk employee: A complete guide for leaders in 2024

The current economic climate has ushered in an era of unprecedented employee mobility, aptly dubbed by many employees as the "Great Resignation."

In this environment, retaining valuable talent has become a top priority for businesses of all sizes. But how do you identify employees who are at risk of leaving and implement effective strategies to keep them engaged and satisfied?

Throughout this guide, we'll leverage valuable insights from HR personnel, industry experts, and real-world data to equip you with the knowledge and strategies needed to navigate the ever-changing landscape of employee retention.

Flight risk employee meaning

Employee running towards the exit
Flight risk employee meaning

A "flight risk employee" refers to an employee who is at a high risk of leaving their current job or organization. This term is commonly used in the context of retention and workforce management.

These workers typically exhibit signs of dissatisfaction, disengagement, or potential intent to seek opportunities elsewhere. Identifying and addressing these employees is crucial for organizations to retain valuable talent and maintain continuity in their operations.

Recognizing and effectively addressing risks is paramount for organizations aiming to preserve their valuable talent pool and ensure uninterrupted workflow.

By identifying individuals who may be considering leaving, companies can proactively implement strategies to engage and support these employees, thereby increasing the likelihood of retaining them within the organization's future leaders.

Failure to address risk effectively can also lead employees to increased turnover rates, loss of institutional knowledge, and disruptions in team dynamics, all of which can adversely impact organizational performance and success.

Why does flight risk employee feedback matter?

Employee is feeling confused in the work
Why does flight risk employee feedback matter?

Employee feedback matters for several critical reasons. Firstly, it offers invaluable insights into the factors driving dissatisfaction and potential turnover within the organization.

By actively soliciting feedback from employees at risk of leaving, companies can gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand, including personal and professional concerns, compensation misalignment, and perceived lack of career development opportunities.

Secondly, such feedback enables organizations to pinpoint areas for improvement in their retention strategies.

Attentively listening to the feedback of flight risk employees, companies can tailor their retention efforts more effectively, using current retention strategies, addressing specific pain points and implementing targeted initiatives to further team morale and enhance satisfaction and engagement.

Moreover, this particular employee feedback demonstrates the organization's commitment to employee well-being and engagement. By actively seeking input from employees who may be contemplating leaving, companies signal that they value their perspectives and are genuinely interested in resolving their concerns.

This fosters a sense of trust and loyalty among employees, potentially encouraging them to reconsider their decision to leave and instead invest in their future within the organization.

By identifying patterns or common themes in the feedback received, organizations can proactively address underlying issues before they escalate into widespread turnover problems.

This proactive approach can save businesses valuable time and resources that would otherwise be spent on recruitment, onboarding, and the costly hiring and training of new employees to replace those who have left.

Flight risk employee feedback matters because it provides crucial insights, helps refine retention strategies, demonstrates organizational commitment to long-term worker retention, and serves as an early warning system for retention challenges.

By actively incorporating the feedback of at-risk employees into decision-making processes, organizations can have innovative retention strategies that foster a more resilient, more present workforce, ultimately driving long-term success and sustainability.

What is an employee flight risk model?

Employers are planning out their next calendar
What is an employee flight risk model?

An employee attrition or flight risk model is a predictive analytical tool used by organizations to assess the likelihood of employees leaving their current positions or the company altogether.

This model typically utilizes various data points and algorithms to identify patterns and indicators associated with employee turnover.

These data points can include factors such as:

  1. Employee tenure: How long the employee has been with the company.
  2. Performance reviews: Ratings or evaluations of the employee's performance.
  3. Absenteeism rates: Frequency of unplanned absences or sick leave.
  4. Salary and employee compensation: Comparison of the employee's compensation to industry standards or peers within the organization. One of the biggest catalysts for turnover is employee pay.
  5. Development opportunities providing training: Availability of growth opportunities and a robust training program.
  6. Employee engagement surveys: Feedback provided by employees regarding their level of engagement and satisfaction with their work.
  7. Social and Cultural Factors: Employee flight risk models may also consider social and cultural factors that influence turnover, such as team dynamics, organizational culture, and alignment with company values. help tailor retention strategies accordingly.
  8. External Market Conditions: In addition to internal data, employee flight risk models may take into account external market conditions, such as job market trends, competitor activity, and economic indicators.

By analyzing these data points and applying statistical models, organizations can develop a predictive model that assigns a risk score to each employee, indicating their likelihood of leaving the company.

This enables HR departments and leadership teams to proactively pinpoint employees who may be at risk of departing and take preventative measures to retain them.

How to assess and identify flight risk employees: A complete checklist

Employers are working on a checklist
How to assess and identify flight risk employees - A complete checklist

Assessing employees requires a comprehensive approach that considers various factors contributing to potential turnover. Below is a complete checklist outlining steps to assess risk of flight:

Performance reviews

Dive deeper into performance evaluations to identify specific areas where the employee may be struggling or excelling. Look for feedback related to job satisfaction, goal achievement, and areas for improvement.

Employee tenure

Consider the length of time the employee has been with the company relative to typical tenure in the industry or within the organization. Short tenures, especially if below the average for the role, may indicate higher flight risks.

Absence and attendance records

Examine attendance records over a significant period to identify trends in absenteeism or time off. Frequent absences or patterns of tardiness could suggest disengagement or personal issues affecting job performance.

Career development

Assess the employee's participation in training programs, workshops, or career advancement initiatives. Lack of engagement with development opportunities may indicate a lack of interest in growth within the organization.

Engagement surveys

Review survey responses related to job satisfaction, organizational culture, leadership effectiveness, and overall engagement levels. Pay attention to any negative trends or consistent feedback pointing to areas of concern.

Salary and compensation

Conduct a thorough analysis of the employee's compensation package, including base salary, bonuses, benefits, and perks. Compare their compensation to industry standards and internal benchmarks to ensure it aligns with their contributions and market value.

Employee feedback and exit interviews

Gather feedback from employees through surveys, interviews, or informal discussions to understand their perspectives on workplace issues, job satisfaction, and reasons for potential departure. Pay close attention to recurring themes or common grievances.

Managerial relationships

Evaluate the quality of the employee's relationship with their direct manager by observing communication styles, feedback mechanisms, and levels of trust and respect. Poor relationships with managers can significantly impact job satisfaction and retention.

Job satisfaction indicators

Look for signs of job satisfaction in the employee's behavior and interactions with colleagues. Positive indicators may include enthusiasm for projects, willingness to collaborate, and proactive contributions to team goals.

External market factors

Stay informed about external factors such as industry trends, economic conditions, and competitor activity that may influence the valued employee who is deciding to explore greener pastures outside the organization.

Work-life balance

Assess the employee's workload, work hours, and stress levels to ensure they maintain a healthy balance between work responsibilities and personal life.

Excessive workload or burnout can contribute to dissatisfaction and flight risks. Major life changes outside of work could result in a change in attitude about their job. A better work-life balance undoubtedly makes a happier employee.

Career aspirations

Have open discussions with the employee about their long-term career goals and aspirations. Understand whether their current role aligns with their professional ambitions and if they see opportunities for growth and advancement within the organization.

Employee demographic data

Consider demographic factors such as age, marital status, education level, and an employee's life stage, as these can influence an employee's career priorities and likelihood of seeking new opportunities.

Exit patterns

Analyze historical data on employee departures within the organization or specific departments to identify any recurring patterns or trends. Look for common reasons cited for leaving and assess whether similar issues may be affecting the current employee.

Overall engagement and morale

Take a holistic view of the team or department's overall engagement levels and morale. Look for signs of cohesion, motivation, and alignment with organizational goals, as these factors can impact individual job satisfaction and retention.

Response to new policies

A new company policy or change in procedure that comes out of the blue can blindside employees, especially if employers don't ask for their input before making any decisions.

That's because employees want to know that they are being heard at work and that their well-being is part of the consideration process.

Where appropriate, check in with employees to see what feedback they have on current company policies or how they would perceive potential changes in the future.

Employee recognition and rewards programs

Evaluate the effectiveness of employee recognition and rewards programs in acknowledging and appreciating employee contributions.

Recognition for achievements and milestones can enhance job satisfaction and loyalty, reducing the risk of employees seeking validation and acknowledgment elsewhere.

Support system within the organization

Assess the level of support provided to employees within the organization, including access to resources, mentorship programs, and avenues for addressing concerns.

A strong support system can help employees feel valued and connected to the organization, reducing the likelihood of turnover.

By thoroughly examining each of these aspects, organizations can gain a nuanced understanding of an employee's risk and develop targeted strategies to address potential retention challenges proactively.

How to calculate employee flight risk?

Employer standing right next to a giant calculator
How to calculate employee flight risk

Assessing and managing employee flight risk is a critical aspect of talent management for organizations striving to maintain a stable and productive workforce. Calculating employee flight risk involves analyzing various data points and employing predictive analytics techniques to forecast future turnover.

  • Analyze historical turnover data: Begin by examining historical turnover data to identify trends and patterns. Look for common factors associated with employee departures, such as job tenure, performance ratings, and reasons for leaving. This data serves as a foundation for predicting future flight risk.
  • Utilize predictive analytics: Leverage predictive analytics tools and algorithms to forecast employee flight risk. These tools analyze various data points, including employee demographics, job satisfaction surveys, performance metrics, and external market factors, to generate predictive models.
  • Identify key risk indicators: Identify key risk indicators (KRIs) that correlate with employee turnover. These may include factors such as low engagement scores, frequent absenteeism, lack of career advancement opportunities, or negative sentiment expressed in employee feedback surveys.
  • Develop a flight risk scoring system: Develop a flight risk scoring system to quantify the likelihood of individual employees leaving the organization. Assign weights to each risk indicator based on its significance and impact, and calculate an overall flight risk score for each employee.
  • Consider individual and organizational factors: Take into account both individual and organizational factors that influence flight risk. Individual factors may include job satisfaction, career aspirations, and personal circumstances, while organizational factors may include leadership effectiveness, organizational culture, and market competitiveness.
  • Regularly review and update models: Regularly review and update flight risk prediction models to incorporate new data and refine algorithms. Monitor changes in employee demographics, market conditions, and internal policies that may impact flight risk dynamics.
  • Integrate with talent management practices: Integrate flight risk calculations into talent management practices, such as succession planning, performance management, and employee development initiatives. Use flight risk insights to identify at-risk employees and implement targeted retention strategies.
  • Engage in proactive retention efforts: Proactively engage in retention efforts to mitigate flight risk among high-risk employees. Offer personalized development opportunities, recognition programs, and career advancement pathways to enhance job satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Track and measure effectiveness: Track and measure the effectiveness of flight risk mitigation strategies over time. Monitor changes in turnover rates, employee engagement levels, and retention metrics to assess the impact of interventions and adjust strategies as needed.
  • Promote a culture of continuous improvement: Foster a culture of continuous improvement by promoting transparency, open communication, and employee feedback. Encourage employees to voice their concerns and suggestions regarding retention efforts, and incorporate their input into future initiatives.

23 Employee flight risk assessment questionnaire

17 Employee flight risk assessment questionnaire
23 Employee flight risk assessment questionnaire
  1. How satisfied are you with your current role and responsibilities?
  2. Do you feel that your career goals align with the opportunities available within the organization?
  3. How would you rate the level of support you receive from your manager in achieving your professional development goals?
  4. Are you satisfied with your current compensation package (salary, bonuses, benefits)?
  5. Do you feel recognized and appreciated for your contributions to the organization?
  6. How would you describe the overall work culture and environment within your team or department?
  7. Have you experienced any recent major life changes or challenges in your personal life that may impact your job satisfaction or performance?
  8. Are there any specific areas where you feel you need more support or resources to succeed in your role?
  9. Do you feel valued and respected by your colleagues and peers?
  10. How satisfied are you with the opportunities for career advancement and growth within the organization?
  11. Are there any aspects of your job that you find particularly challenging or unfulfilling?
  12. Have you considered exploring opportunities outside of the organization in the past six months?
  13. How would you rate your level of engagement and motivation in your current role?
  14. Do you feel that your opinions and feedback are taken into consideration by leadership when making decisions?
  15. Are there any organizational changes or developments that have impacted your job satisfaction or sense of stability?
  16. How would you describe your work-life balance in your current role?
  17. On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to actively seek new job opportunities within the next 6-12 months?
  18. Do you feel adequately supported by the organization in terms of opportunities for skill development and continuous learning?
  19. How strongly do you identify with the company's values and mission?
  20. Are you satisfied with the level of transparency and inclusivity in the organization's feedback mechanisms, such as suggestion boxes or anonymous surveys?
  21. Have you had any recent opportunities for professional training or skill development provided by the organization?
  22. How do you feel about the level of communication and collaboration among different teams or departments within the organization?
  23. Have you experienced any recent changes in leadership within your team or department that have influenced your job satisfaction or motivation?

This questionnaire covers various aspects of job satisfaction, career opportunities, training and development opportunities, work environment, and personal factors that can influence an employee's likelihood of considering leaving their current position.

It can serve as a valuable tool for assessing flight risk and identifying areas for improvement in retention strategies. Additionally, it can provide valuable insights for HR professionals and leadership teams to address potential retention challenges proactively.

What is the flight risk predictor in employee engagement context?

What is the flight risk predictor in employee engagement context?
What is the flight risk predictor in employee engagement context?

A "flight risk predictor" refers to a tool, model, or methodology used to identify employees who are at risk of leaving their current position or the organization.

This predictor leverages various data points and indicators related to engagement, satisfaction, and behavior to forecast the likelihood of individuals becoming flight risks.

Flight risk predictors in the employee engagement context typically analyze factors such as:

  1. Engagement surveys: Insights from employee surveys regarding job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and overall engagement levels.
  2. Performance metrics: Evaluations of individual and team performance, including productivity, goal attainment, and feedback from managers and peers.
  3. Retention patterns: Historical data on turnover rates, exit interviews, and reasons cited for employee departures.
  4. Employee feedback: Feedback gathered through regular check-ins, one-on-one meetings, and performance reviews to identify potential concerns or areas for improvement.
  5. Work-life balance: Assessment of workloads, stress levels, and flexibility in work arrangements to gauge the impact on employee well-being.
  6. Opportunities: Analysis of opportunities for growth, advancement, and skill development within the organization.
  7. Managerial relationships: Evaluation of relationships between employees and their supervisors, including communication, support, and trust.

By analyzing these factors collectively, a risk predictor in the engagement context aims to proactively pinpoint employees who may be disengaged, dissatisfied, or considering leaving their current roles.

Should employers conduct exit interviews with departing employees to gather insights into flight risk?

Employee attending an exit interview
Should employers conduct exit interviews with departing employees to gather insights into flight risk?

As organizations strive to understand and mitigate the factors contributing to employee turnover, the practice of conducting exit interviews with departing employees has emerged as a valuable tool.

Exit interviews provide a unique opportunity for employers to gather candid feedback and insights into the reasons behind an employee's departure. This information is crucial for identifying potential flight risks within the organization and implementing proactive retention strategies.

  1. Opportunity for candid feedback: Exit interviews provide departing employees with a platform to offer candid feedback about their reasons for leaving and their overall experiences with the organization. This feedback can unveil valuable insights into factors contributing to flight risk, such as dissatisfaction with management, compensation, or career development opportunities.
  2. Identify root causes: Exit interviews allow employers to identify root causes of turnover and address underlying issues within the organization. By understanding the specific reasons why employees are leaving, employers can take proactive measures to improve retention strategies and foster a more positive work environment.
  3. Validate or refute assumptions: Exit interviews enable employers to validate or refute assumptions about employee motivations or perceptions. Sometimes, employers may have misconceptions about why employees are leaving. Exit interviews provide an opportunity to gain clarity and adjust strategies accordingly.
  4. Inform retention strategies: Insights gathered from exit interviews can inform the development of targeted retention strategies. By understanding the specific reasons why employees are leaving, employers can tailor retention efforts to address key concerns and improve employee satisfaction and loyalty.
  5. Legal and compliance considerations: Conducting exit interviews can help employers fulfill legal and compliance requirements, especially in industries where turnover may raise regulatory concerns. Gathering feedback from departing employees ensures that the organization is aware of any potential legal risks and can take appropriate action to mitigate them.
  6. Preserve institutional knowledge: Exit interviews provide an opportunity to capture and preserve institutional knowledge before employees depart. Departing employees may possess valuable insights, skills, or relationships that can benefit the organization if documented and transferred to their successors.
  7. Maintain positive alumni relationships: Conducting exit interviews in a professional and respectful manner helps maintain positive relationships with departing employees. Alumni who leave on good terms may become valuable brand ambassadors or even potential boomerang employees in the future.
  8. Complement other feedback mechanisms: Exit interviews should complement, not replace, other feedback mechanisms such as employee surveys, performance reviews, and regular one-on-one meetings. Integrating insights from multiple sources provides a more comprehensive understanding of flight risk factors and enables more effective decision-making.

What is a flight risk employee assessment tool? How can it help improve employee retention?

Employee is working with a software
What is a flight risk employee assessment tool? How can it help improve employee retention?

Flight risks assessment tool is a specialized instrument designed to evaluate the likelihood of employees leaving their current job or organization. This tool employs various data points and metrics to identify patterns and indicators associated with flight risk among employees.

The flight risk employee assessment tool typically utilizes factors such as:

  1. Peer feedback and performance reviews: Incorporating input from colleagues and team members to assess employees' satisfaction levels, teamwork abilities, and overall fit within the organization.
  2. Career progression and tenure patterns: Analyzing employees' career trajectories and tenure within the company to tailor retention efforts, such as offering advancement opportunities or developmental support, to align with their goals.
  3. Attendance and absenteeism records: Analysis of attendance patterns and rates of unplanned absences, which can indicate disengagement or dissatisfaction.
  4. Compensation and benefits: Review of salary, bonuses, benefits, and perks offered to employees compared to industry standards and market rates.
  5. Industry benchmarking and external market data: Comparing the organization's retention rates and practices against industry standards and external market data to identify areas for improvement and inform strategic decisions to enhance employee retention efforts.
  6. Exit interviews and feedback: Insights gathered from exit interviews and feedback sessions with departing employees to understand their reasons for leaving and areas for improvement.

By leveraging these data points, an assessment tool can help organizations proactively identify employees who may be at risk of leaving. Calculating employee flight risk enables HR departments and leadership teams to intervene early, address underlying issues, and implement targeted retention strategies.

Improving employee retention is facilitated by the insights gained from the assessment tool. By improving employee satisfaction and identifying flight risks in advance, organizations can take strategic actions to enhance employee satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty. This may involve:

  • Offering personalized development opportunities tailored to employees' career aspirations.
  • Providing competitive compensation packages and benefits to retain top talent.
  • Improving communication and transparency within the organization to foster trust and alignment.
  • Implementing initiatives to enhance workplace culture, such as recognition programs and team-building activities.
  • Addressing issues identified through feedback, such as workload concerns or challenges with managerial relationships.

Ultimately, the assessment tool empowers organizations to proactively manage retention efforts, reduce turnover costs, fully eliminate employee attrition, and maintain a motivated and engaged workforce for long-term success.

How CultureMonkey’s employee retention software can help you with flight risk assessment

Employer retaining employees with giant horseshoe magnet
How CultureMonkey’s employee retention software can help you with flight risk assessment

CultureMonkey offers a comprehensive suite of tools and features tailored to meet the evolving needs of modern organizations. From pulse surveys to anonymous feedback mechanisms, CultureMonkey empowers companies to gather real-time insights into employee sentiments, preferences, and pain points.

The platform also offers a comprehensive solution for assessing flight risk through employee surveys, providing invaluable insights that enable proactive retention strategies. Here's how:

  • Identifying disengagement signals: CultureMonkey's surveys delve deep into employee sentiments, allowing organizations to identify subtle signs of disengagement or dissatisfaction. By analyzing responses to questions related to job satisfaction, work-life balance, and career growth, organizations can pinpoint areas of concern that may indicate a heightened risk of employee turnover.
  • Tracking engagement trends: With CultureMonkey's survey analytics, organizations can track engagement trends over time. By monitoring changes in employee responses to key engagement metrics, such as satisfaction with leadership, workload, or recognition, organizations can detect shifts in employee sentiment that may signal an increased flight risk.
  • Segmentation for targeted insights: CultureMonkey enables organizations to segment survey data based on various factors such as department, team, or tenure. This segmentation allows for a more nuanced analysis of flight risk factors across different employee demographics, helping organizations tailor retention strategies to specific groups with higher turnover risk.
  • Open dialogue for actionable feedback: CultureMonkey's platform fosters open dialogue between employees and management through anonymous surveys. This encourages employees to provide honest feedback about their concerns and frustrations, enabling organizations to address underlying issues before they escalate into flight risks.
  • Benchmarking and best practices: CultureMonkey provides benchmarking data and access to industry best practices, allowing organizations to compare their employee engagement metrics with industry standards. By benchmarking flight risk indicators against industry averages, organizations can gain valuable insights into areas where they may need to improve retention efforts.


As a company, how you approach employee flight risk is paramount for organizational success. By employing a proactive approach to identify and address flight risk, businesses can reduce turnover costs, preserve valuable talent, and foster a more engaged and motivated workforce. This will, in turn, reduce flight risk.

Utilizing tools and strategies to spot flight risk employees allows organizations to intervene early, offering tailored support and resources to encourage workers to mitigate dissatisfaction and enhance job satisfaction.

This targeted approach not only bolsters employee retention and business performance metrics but also strengthens organizational resilience in the face of evolving market conditions.

Ultimately, by adopting a hands-on approach to flight risk management, organizations can cultivate a workplace culture where business employees perceive themselves as valued, supported, and empowered to thrive.

Through ongoing assessment, intervention, and improvement, businesses can navigate the challenges of employee retention with confidence, paving the way for sustained growth and success in the years ahead.


1. What is a flight risk employee?

A flight risk employee is someone who displays signs of intending to leave their current job. These warning signs may include decreased engagement, frequent absenteeism, or actively seeking other opportunities. Identifying flight risk employees is crucial for organizations to proactively address their concerns and improve retention efforts. By understanding their motivations and addressing underlying issues, employers can work to retain valuable talent and maintain stability within the workforce.

2. What can HR do to help retain employees and lower employee turnover?

HR professionals can implement several strategies to retain employees and lower turnover. This includes offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, providing opportunities for career development and advancement, fostering a positive work environment, promoting work-life balance, and implementing effective communication channels. Regular feedback mechanisms, recognition programs, and employee engagement initiatives also play a crucial role in boosting job satisfaction and loyalty, thereby reducing turnover rates within the organization.

3. Should employers intervene if they identify an employee as a flight risk?

Yes, employers should intervene if they identify an employee as a flight risk. Early intervention is key to understanding the underlying reasons for their dissatisfaction and addressing concerns to improve retention. This intervention may involve conducting stay interviews, offering support and resources, adjusting roles or responsibilities, or providing opportunities for career growth within the organization. Proactive measures can help re-engage the employee and demonstrate their value to the company.

4. What role does employee engagement play in mitigating flight risk?

Employee engagement is crucial in mitigating flight risk as it reflects the emotional connection and commitment employees have towards their work and the organization. Engaged employees are more likely to feel valued, satisfied, and motivated, reducing the likelihood of them seeking opportunities elsewhere. By fostering a culture of engagement through clear communication, recognition, meaningful work, and opportunities for growth, employers can increase employee loyalty and retention rates.

5. What are the long-term consequences of not addressing employee flight risk?

Neglecting to address employee flight risk can lead to significant long-term consequences for organizations. These may include increased turnover rates, loss of valuable talent and institutional knowledge, decreased productivity, strained morale among remaining employees, and damage to the employer brand. Over time, this can result in higher recruitment and training costs, decreased competitiveness, and a negative impact on overall organizational performance and reputation.



Santhosh is a Sr. Content Marketer with 2+ years of experience. He loves to travel solo (though he doesn’t label them as vacations, they are) to explore, meet people, and learn new stories.