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Set Your 2024 Retention Goals

The start of a new year motivates many people to make improvements in their life. If they were unhappy with something last year, you bet they will want to make a change for the better this year.

What about employees who were unhappy with their job situation last year? It’s very likely now that the holidays are over they will start actively searching for better job opportunities. It works in their favor that the first of the year is prime time for finding a new job. According to Indeed, companies tend to hire most in January and February because of new hiring budgets that go into effect at the beginning of the year.

Here are some common factors that cause employees to be unhappy and want to switch jobs:

    • Wages and benefits that aren’t competitive with the market
    • A bad boss
    • A toxic culture
    • Burnout
    • Not feeling appreciated
    • Lack of opportunities for promotions or professional growth

When it comes to your specific employees, do you know why people leave and why they stay?


Go over your exit interviews from last year. What reasons did employees state for leaving? Are there themes or a pattern you can address this year in order to improve employee engagement and retention?


For your employees who have been with you for several years, what reasons do they give for wanting to stay? If you don’t have a clear idea, it’s time to conduct stay interviews. The start of a new year is the perfect opportunity for managers/supervisors to understand an individual’s motivations and why they might leave.

Here are several stay interview questions to use:

    • What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?
    • What do you like most or least about working here?
    • What keeps you working here?
    • If you could change something about your job, what would that be?
    • What would make your job more satisfying?
    • As your manager/supervisor, what can I do more or less of?

The information you gain will be a gold mine of information for managers/supervisors to use at the individual and team level and for HR to use at the organizational level. Use the data to shape employee engagement and retention initiatives. 

Once you’ve collected enough data, it’s time to set your retention goal for the year.

To calculate your retention rate, divide the number of employees who have stayed throughout a given time period by the initial amount of employees in said time period, and multiply by 100. For example, you had 55 employees at the start of Q4, and on the last day of Q4 you had 47 employees, as 8 staff members left to pursue other opportunities. In that scenario, your employee retention rate for the quarter would be (47/55) x 100, or 85.45%. 

By calculating your retention rate each quarter, you can make improvements to your retention initiatives throughout the year instead of waiting until the end of the year.

Retention rates should also be calculated by departments so that managers/supervisors know what it is for their team, as their leadership style heavily influences employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction. 

Employee retention is the responsibility of managers/supervisors as much as it is HR’s responsibility.

By working together, big gains can be made in employee retention rates, leading to major time and cost savings. 

Employee retention has one major goal: to keep your best and brightest employees working productively and happily at your company for years to come! By setting a goal and using data to inform your decisions, you are most likely to have a high rate of retention. 

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