The new activities director sure seemed like a great fit.

The residents suddenly were more engaged, and the programs she put in place were a huge upgrade. By all accounts, she seemed to be a happy camper. That was, until the day she up and left.

Who could have seen it coming? In retrospect, maybe a better question is this: Why didn’t you see it coming?

For as a new study from Peakon makes clear, workers often send flight-risk signals long before they take off.

The first sign of trouble ahead tends to be declining loyalty. That can show up nine months in advance, according to the report, which is based on more than 33 million employee survey responses across 125 countries.

Peakon investigators found that factors that can drive a person to quit include work that is not challenging, an inability to discuss pay — and an unclear path for career / personal growth. Investigators also confirmed that people are far more likely to quit because of poor managers, as opposed to problematic co-workers or company culture.

Although respondents represented a wide array of occupations, their concerns are all too common in this field. And we wonder why senior living faces its biggest staffing challenge in decades?

But the report’s findings are not just a recitation of problem areas. In fact, investigators cited more than a dozen areas where operators can help fuel worker engagement.

These include actions such as providing autonomy, encouraging freedom of opinions, goal-setting, ensuring growth opportunities, delivering management support, providing meaningful work, ensuring a good organizational fit, encouraging peer relationships and recognizing / rewarding outstanding efforts.

These are all helpful things that provide proactive opportunities for senior living employers. And the timing hardly could be better. Let’s face it, many operators could use all the help they can get.