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Employee Retention Goal: Setting and Achieving Them

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Employee retention is critical for managing a successful business. Employee retention goals focus on keeping valuable employees within an organization long-term. High turnover rates can be expensive and disruptive, leading to lost productivity and increased hiring expenses. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost of replacing an employee can be as high as six to nine months of their salary.

The current state of employee retention highlights a growing challenge for many industries. For example, the technology and healthcare industries are experiencing particularly high turnover rates. In tech, the fast-paced environment and high demand for skilled professionals lead to frequent job-hopping. Healthcare workers face burnout and stress, contributing to higher turnover. On the other hand, industries like education and public administration tend to have better retention rates due to job stability and benefits.

Setting and achieving employee retention goals is crucial for minimizing turnover costs and maintaining a productive workforce. In this article, we will explore how to effectively set and achieve these goals, providing valuable insights for companies looking to retain top talent.

Table of Contents

What drives employee retention?

What are employee retention goals?

Why you need to set employee retention goals

How to set employee retention goals

How to get started on achieving your goals

How to track progress

employee retention goals

What drives employee retention? 

Understanding the factors that drive employee retention can help organizations develop effective strategies to keep their top talent. Here are some of the most common drivers according to research, statistics, and employee feedback:

Competitive compensation and benefits:

One of the most major factors influencing employee retention is competitive compensation. According to research from Microsoft and LinkedIn, nearly 46% of employees leave their jobs due to salary. Providing a competitive salary, along with benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and bonuses, can significantly improve retention rates. Benefits that address employees’ financial well-being and security are crucial in retaining top talent.

Career development opportunities:

Employees tend to stay with a company that offers clear career advancement paths. LinkedIn found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. Providing training, mentorship programs, and opportunities for professional growth can help your employees feel valued and engaged, reducing the likelihood of turnover.

Positive workplace culture:

A positive and inclusive workplace culture is another key driver of retention. According to a study by Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct corporate culture is important to business success. Companies that foster a supportive, respectful, and collaborative environment tend to have higher retention rates. Encouraging open communication, recognizing employee achievements, and promoting work-life balance are essential aspects of a positive workplace culture.

Work-life balance:

Work-life balance is a must-have for any employee. Mercer found that 81% of employees value flexible working conditions. Offering remote work options, flexible hours, and generous leave policies can help employees live well-balanced lives, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention.

Employee recognition and appreciation:

Recognition and appreciation are powerful motivators for employees. Gallup found that employees who do not feel like they’re recognized enough are twice as likely to say they will quit in the next year. Regularly acknowledging employees’ hard work and contributions through awards, public recognition, or simple thank-you notes can boost morale and loyalty. Software like Bucketlist Rewards makes it easy to recognize and reward your team with automated recognition and rewards, a huge selection of personalized rewards and easy-to-use app and messaging integrations that meet employees where they already work. Click here to learn more about what Bucketlist can do for you!

employee rewards and recognition program

Job security:

Job security remains a crucial factor in employee retention. During economic uncertainty, employees are more likely to stay with companies that provide stability and security. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that job insecurity was a significant source of stress for employees. Providing clear communication about company performance and future prospects can help alleviate concerns about job stability.

Leadership and management:

Effective leadership and management is key for retaining employees. A study by the Harvard Business Review revealed that 58% of employees trust strangers more than their own boss. Managers who are supportive, communicative, and fair can foster a positive working environment that encourages employees to stay. Leadership development programs can help managers build the skills necessary to lead effectively.

By understanding and addressing these common retention drivers, organizations can create a work environment that’s more engaging, supportive, and encourages employees to remain with the company for the long term.

What are employee retention goals?

Employee retention goals are specific objectives set by an organization to keep its employees for a longer period. These goals focus on reducing turnover rates and creating a stable, committed workforce.

Simply put, employee retention goals can involve various strategies and metrics, such as improving job satisfaction, enhancing employee engagement, and offering career development opportunities. These goals aim to address the key factors that influence employees’ decisions to stay with or leave a company. By setting clear retention goals, organizations can implement targeted initiatives to create a more attractive and supportive work environment, ultimately leading to a more loyal and productive workforce.

Why you need to set employee retention goals

Setting employee retention goals is crucial for several reasons. Here are some key points to consider:

Decrease turnover costs:

High employee turnover can be extremely costly for organizations. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that the cost to replace an employee can range from six to nine months of their salary. This includes expenses related to recruiting, onboarding, and training new hires. By setting retention goals, companies can focus on strategies that keep employees longer, ultimately saving on these high turnover costs.

Maintain productivity and morale:

Frequent turnover can disrupt team dynamics and reduce overall productivity. When employees leave, the remaining team members often have to pick up the slack, leading to increased workloads and potential burnout. Consistent staffing helps maintain a stable work environment where employees can focus on their tasks without the constant upheaval of new hires.

Enhance company reputation:

Companies with high retention rates often enjoy better reputations in their industries. A stable workforce suggests a positive work environment, which can attract top talent. According to LinkedIn’s Employer Brand Statistics, 75% of job seekers think about the employer’s brand before applying for a job. Setting and achieving retention goals can help build a strong employer brand that attracts and retains high-quality candidates.

Foster employee engagement:

Setting retention goals can lead to initiatives that boost employee engagement. Engaged employees tend to stay with their company, instead of looking for the next role to jump to. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report found that highly engaged business units achieve a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity. By focusing on retention, companies can implement programs that foster a deeper connection between employees and their work.

Support long-term growth and stability:

Retaining employees is essential for the long-term growth and stability of any organization. Experienced employees bring valuable knowledge and skills that contribute to the company’s success. High turnover can lead to loss of institutional knowledge and expertise, which can be detrimental to long-term projects and strategic goals.

Improve customer satisfaction:

Employees who stay longer with a company tend to build stronger relationships with customers. Consistent and knowledgeable staff can provide better service, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Deloitte found that increasing employee retention by just 5% can lead to a 25% to 95% increase in profits due to better customer service and relationships.

Boost employee morale and loyalty:

When employees see that their company is committed to retaining its workforce, it boosts their morale and loyalty. They are more likely to feel valued and appreciated, which enhances their commitment to the organization. This sense of loyalty can reduce turnover and foster a more positive work environment.

By setting clear employee retention goals, organizations can proactively address the factors that influence employee turnover, create a more stable and productive workforce, and ultimately drive long-term success.

goal setting for employee retention

How to set employee retention goals at your organization

Setting employee retention goals involves identifying specific, actionable objectives that can help reduce turnover and enhance employee satisfaction. Here are a few examples of effective employee retention goals:

Reduce voluntary turnover by a specific percentage:

One of the most straightforward retention goals is to reduce voluntary turnover by a certain percentage over a defined period, such as 10% within a year. You can achieve this goal by implementing strategies like improving workplace culture, offering competitive compensation, and enhancing career development opportunities. Tracking turnover rates regularly can help measure progress and adjust strategies as needed.

Increase employee engagement scores:

Setting a goal to boost employee engagement scores by a specific margin, such as 15%, within a year can lead to a more committed and productive workforce. Engagement can be measured through regular surveys that assess employees’ feelings about their roles, the company culture, and their overall satisfaction. Initiatives to achieve this goal might include offering more recognition, increasing communication, and providing professional growth opportunities.

Enhance career development programs:

A retention goal focused on career development could be to implement new training programs that reach at least 80% of employees within six months. This goal emphasizes the importance of ongoing education and career advancement opportunities. By providing workshops, online courses, and mentorship programs, companies can help employees build their skills and feel more invested in their future with the organization.

Improve employee recognition and rewards systems:

Setting a goal to increase the frequency of employee recognition events or rewards can help improve morale and retention. For example, a company might aim to recognize at least one employee from each department every month for their contributions. Regular recognition helps employees feel valued and appreciated, which can significantly reduce turnover rates.

Increase participation in wellness programs:

A goal to boost participation in wellness programs by 25% within a year can help improve employees’ physical and mental well-being, leading to higher retention. Wellness programs might include fitness challenges, mental health resources, or stress management workshops. Healthier employees are usually more content and productive, which contributes to lower turnover.

Strengthen onboarding processes:

Improving the onboarding experience can lead to better retention of new hires. Setting a goal to revamp the onboarding process and ensure that 90% of new employees feel adequately prepared and integrated within their first three months can help achieve this. Effective onboarding can enhance job satisfaction and reduce early turnover.

Increase internal promotion rates:

A goal to fill at least 30% of open positions through internal promotions within a year can help retain top talent. When employees see clear paths for advancement, they are more likely to stay with the company. Providing training and development programs that prepare employees for these roles can support this goal.

By setting clear and measurable employee retention goals, organizations can focus on the areas that will most effectively reduce turnover and enhance employee satisfaction. Regularly reviewing your progress and adjusting strategies as needed will help ensure you meet these goals.

How to get started on achieving employee retention goals

Setting employee retention goals is only the first step. To make meaningful progress, you need a clear action plan. Here’s how to get started on achieving these goals:

Identify key areas for improvement:

Start by conducting a thorough analysis of your current retention rates and identifying the primary reasons for turnover. Use exit interviews, employee surveys, and performance data to pinpoint areas that need attention. Understanding the root causes of turnover will help you develop targeted strategies to address them.

Develop a comprehensive retention strategy:

Create a detailed plan to outline the specific steps you will take to achieve your retention goals. This plan should include improving compensation packages, enhancing career development programs, and fostering a positive workplace culture. Implementing an effective employee reward and recognition program is also a great way to motivate and retain employees. Make sure your strategy is aligned with your overall business objectives and values.

Engage leadership and managers:

Successful retention efforts require buy-in from all levels of the organization. Ensure that leaders and managers understand the importance of retention goals and their role in achieving them. Provide training on effective management practices, such as recognizing employees, providing constructive feedback, and supporting career development.

Communicate your goals and strategies to employees:

Transparency is key to gaining employee support for retention initiatives. Clearly communicate your retention goals and the steps you’re taking to achieve them. Encourage feedback and suggestions from employees to ensure that the strategies you implement are relevant and effective.

Implement retention initiatives:

Put your plan into action by rolling out the retention initiatives you’ve identified. This might include launching new recognition programs, offering training and development opportunities, or improving the onboarding process. Keep an eye on the implementation process to ensure that initiatives are being executed as planned.

Allocate resources effectively:

Ensure that you have the necessary resources, including budget, personnel, and tools, to support your retention efforts. Allocate resources strategically to the areas that will have the most significant impact on retention. For example, investing in employee training and development can bring in long-term benefits for retention and overall business performance.

allocating resources to achieve retention goals

How to track progress on retention goals

Tracking progress on your retention goals is crucial to ensure that your strategies are effective and to make necessary adjustments. Here’s how to effectively monitor your progress:

Set clear metrics and KPIs:

Define specific metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your retention efforts. These might include turnover rates, employee engagement scores, and the number of internal promotions. Clear metrics will help you track progress and determine whether your initiatives are making a difference.

Use employee surveys:

Regularly conduct employee surveys to gauge satisfaction, engagement, and the effectiveness of retention initiatives. Surveys can provide important insights into how your employees feel about their work environment, management, and opportunities for growth. Use this feedback to adjust your strategies as needed.

Conduct exit interviews:

Exit interviews are a valuable tool for understanding why employees leave and identifying trends or issues that need to be addressed. Analyze the data from these interviews to gain insights into areas where you can improve retention. Use this information to refine your retention goals and initiatives.

Watch your turnover rates:

Keep a close eye on your turnover rates, both overall and within specific departments or teams. Compare these rates to your retention goals to assess progress. If turnover remains high, investigate the underlying causes and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Review engagement and performance metrics:

Track metrics related to employee engagement and performance, such as productivity levels, attendance, and participation in development programs. High engagement and performance levels often correlate with lower turnover rates. Use these metrics to identify areas where additional support or resources may be needed.

Hold regular progress reviews:

Schedule regular meetings with leadership and management to review progress on retention goals. Discuss what’s working, what’s not, and any adjustments that need to be made. Keeping everyone informed and involved ensures that retention remains a priority across the organization.

Leverage HR analytics tools:

Utilize HR analytics tools to track and analyze retention-related data. These tools can provide real-time insights into employee trends, helping you make data-driven decisions. Analytics can also highlight certain patterns and predict potential retention issues before they become significant problems.

Celebrate successes and milestones:

Recognize and celebrate when you achieve milestones or make significant progress toward your retention goals. Celebrating your successes helps to reinforce the importance of retention efforts and keeps employees motivated and engaged.

With the above steps, you can effectively track progress on your retention goals and make informed decisions to continually improve your retention strategies. Regular monitoring and adjustment ensure that your efforts remain aligned with your objectives and that you achieve the desired outcomes.

celebrating achieving employee retention goals

Achieving employee retention success

In this article, we’ve explored the importance of setting and achieving employee retention goals. We discussed the current state of employee retention, highlighting the high costs associated with turnover and the impact on various industries. We then identified common drivers of retention, such as competitive compensation, career development opportunities, positive workplace culture, and strong leadership.

Setting clear and actionable employee retention goals is essential for reducing turnover, maintaining productivity, and fostering a positive work environment. Examples of these goals include reducing voluntary turnover, increasing employee engagement scores, and enhancing career development programs. We also provided strategies for getting started on achieving these goals and tracking progress effectively through metrics, employee surveys, and regular reviews.

The key takeaway is that by prioritizing employee retention and implementing targeted strategies, organizations can create a more stable, engaged, and productive workforce. Retention goals are not just about keeping employees longer; they are about creating an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated to contribute to the company’s success. Start setting and achieving your employee retention goals today to build a stronger, more resilient organization.

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