How to Set Employee Retention Objectives

Employee retention is something every business should care about. Although having a prized employee leave for other reasons (such as moving to a different place or choosing to pursue a different career path) is quite normal, you want to hold on to them for as long as possible. Most companies do well with attracting and hiring talent, but they mostly fail at retaining them.

The cost of employee turnover is quite high and in order to minimize it, companies should set the right employee retention objectives. While compensation issues (such as salary levels and incentives) do matter, keeping an employee happy and engaged requires so much more. In short, setting employee retention objectives require addressing following elements:

  • Performance
  • Communication
  • Loyalty
  • Competitive Advantage

Set Clear Performance Objectives

Business owners and managers know the value of setting measurable objectives for employees. However, have you ever considered how it is critical to employee retention?

Studies have shown that employees want to know that they are succeeding at what they do. They have a desire to find out whether their talents and capabilities are being used the right way (in other words, in a way that is beneficial for the company). This is the simple logic behind this: when people know what they do is making a difference for the company, they develop a sense of belonging. In short, they feel as if it is their own company.

It has been proven that people are happy when they are achieving a goal. This is why it’s so important to set clear, achievable objectives and provide feedback so employees know that their contributions have impacted the company in way and that they are also achieving the goals they have set.

For instance, you can give your social media team an objective to post updates and respond to inquiries from followers on a regular basis. From there, you can measure how well you’re doing on social media (whether the action plans you’ve set resulted in an increase in followers, increase in inquiries, etc.). It’s not enough to just say that the team needs to gain 100 followers each week. Provide clear steps on how that can be done and then see the results. You can also make tweaks from there and see if it changes anything.

Pay Attention To Communication

The communication process within your organization should be structured in a way that it informs, emphasizes and reaffirms that the contributions of employees have an impact on the business. Communication also means soliciting their ideas wherever possible and knowing how they truly feel about their working environment. Employees like to be heard and it helps if you actually pay attention to them. A simple suggestion from them can turn out to be a great thing for your company.

So, make sure your communications plan involves the following:

Having An Open-Door Policy – This is where employees can freely come up to management to express an opinion or give a suggestion without any repercussions

Having Frequent Communications – Whether it be through face-to-face meetings or digital communications, it helps to always be in touch with your employees

Conducting Employee Surveys – Not everyone loves the idea of surveys but it’s one of the best ways to gather opinions on company issues and activities

While having this kind of communications plan sounds great on paper, it really doesn’t make any sense if it isn’t implemented. For instance, employees wouldn’t feel valued when you asked them for suggestions on productivity but haven’t given them an update on what can and can’t be done.

Know How To Value Loyalty

True employee loyalty is earned, not enforced. You can’t expect a worker to be loyal to the company when you have done nothing to merit it. For instance, constantly treating them badly won’t earn you their trust and respect. Put simply, in order to earn loyalty, you have to show loyalty as well.

Always keep in mind that employees don’t start out loyal to your company. After all, what they’ve learned about you is what they’ve heard from others, what they’ve read on the internet and their initial impressions of you. It’s your responsibility to make them feel valued and appreciated and surely, you’ll earn their loyalty.

The question now is: how do you show your commitment to your employees? You have to show that you care about their success and that you also value the contributions they have made to your company.

One of the simplest things you can do is to provide learning options where they can develop new skills and learn something new. Sure this may take time away from actual work but having an employee with various skill sets and knowledge will definitely help you out in the long run.

Another area you can concentrate on is providing leave options. When a good employee asks for a certain number of days off to spend time with family, why wouldn’t you allow them to do so? Yes, they are vital in keeping the business moving but they do deserve some time off for all the contributions they have made to the company.

Provide a Competitive Advantage

What makes you different from all the others in your industry? Letting your employees know that (as well as your clients) makes them feel good about being employed in a winning organization. Let’s say you’re in the online flower delivery business. There are hundreds of others just like your business. So it’s your duty to make your business as different from those in your area. Identify a feasible way in how you can be different then let your workers and clients know about it. Whether it’s your service or your online presence, make sure workers are aware of your competitive advantage and they will feel lucky to be working for you.


Factoring performance, communication, loyalty and a competitive advantage into your employee retention objectives can give you amazing results. Some of the factors listed here, particularly employee performance, are already in place for a lot of companies (and even yours). They key for you know is to successfully blend these four factors and by doing so, it’s not hard to see why you can’t retain your best workers.